February 24, 2011

Air Force Opens Home Slate vs. Vermont

from press release

COLORADO SPRINGS - The Air Force lacrosse team opens its home slate this Friday, Feb. 25, when it hosts Vermont in a non-conference match-up. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Falcon Stadium.

Last Time Out...

The Falcons dropped their season opener to Siena on Sunday, falling 11-6 in a neutral-site contest at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Air Force trailed 4-1 before rallying to a 5-5 tie in the third period. However, the Saints responded with six straight goals to take the victory.

Senior captain Vinny Sandtorv led the Falcons with two goals, while senior Zack Carroll and freshmen Kyle Cassady and Mike Crampton each added a goal and an assist for Air Force.

Scouting the Falcons...

Air Force enters this weekend's contest with an 0-1 record after its loss to Siena on Sunday afternoon.

The Falcons have four players who each scored two points in Air Force's game against Siena. Senior Vinny Sandtorv is the Falcons' leading goal scorer with two goals (both man-up scores), while Zack Carroll, Kyle Cassady and Mike Crampton each tallied a goal and an assist in the season-opener.

Head Coach Eric Seremet...

Eric Seremet enters his third season at the helm of the Air Force lacrosse program. During the 2009 campaign, Seremet, a seven-year assistant for the Falcons, took over the reins from legendary coach Fred Acee, who retired following more than four decades in the coaching profession.

Seremet, a 1992 North Carolina graduate, guided the Falcons to a 7-7 overall ledger in 2009, including a 4-1 record in the Great Western Lacrosse League and a second-place conference finish. Air Force's seven wins were the most since 2006 and more than in the previous two seasons combined, while the team finished at .500 for the first time since 1997. In 2010, Seremet helped lead the Falcons to an 8-7 overtime victory over service academy rival Army, marking the first-ever win for the Falcons over the rival Black Knights in Army's first trip to the Academy.

Scouting the Catamounts...

Vermont enters Friday night's game with 1-0 record. The Catamounts opened the 2011 slate on Sunday with a 9-4 home victory over Colgate.

The Catamounts are coached by Ryan Curtis, in his fifth year at the helm of the program. Sophomore Drew Philie led Vermont with six points (4g, 2a) against the Raiders, while classmate Thomas Galvin added four points (2g, 2a) for the Catamounts.

Series Records...

This week's contest will be the third meeting all-time between Air Force and Vermont, with the Falcons winning both previous contests. The last meeting between the two team came in 2004, when Air Force picked up a 8-4 win at the Pioneer Face-Off Classic in Denver.

Home Openers...

The Falcons have won four of their last five home openers, with last year's season-opening loss to St. John's the lone defeat.

Fresh Faces making their marks...

Air Force had several players making their respective collegiate debuts against Siena on Sunday. Of the 19 Falcons who saw action versus the Saints, 10 were members of Air Force's freshman class, including four who cracked the starting lineup.

Three of Air Force's six goals were scored by freshmen, with Kyle Cassady, Mike Crampton and Erik Smith each finding the back of the net. In addition, Cassady and Crampton each added an assist, while Crampton picked up a team-best five ground balls and shared the team lead in caused turnovers with two.

We're Young...

Air Force's squad is characterized this season by its youth. Of the 49 players listed on the current roster, 27 are newcomers, including 25 freshmen.

...But Experienced...

Despite its youth, Air Force also returns plenty of experience to its lineup. The Falcons return eight starters from the 2010 season, including their leading point scorer (Zack Carroll) and leading goal scorer (Vinny Sandtorv).

Moving To Falcon Stadium...

This season, Air Force is scheduled to play all of its home games at Falcon Stadium, the home venue for the Academy's football team. Air Force played two of its games at Falcon Stadium in 2010, including its first-ever victory over service academy rival Army.

Preseason All-ECAC...

For the second straight season, brothers Bryan and Dayton Gilbreath were named to the Preseason All-ECAC team as defensive selections. In addition, Dayton Gilbreath was named the 2011 preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

The Gilbreath brothers, natives of Bainbridge Island, Wash., are the backbone of the Falcons' defensive unit. Dayton, currently a junior, has been a first-team all-conference selection on defense in each of his first two years, earning the honor as a member of the GWLL in 2009 and the ECAC in 2010. He was also named the GWLL Newcomer of the Year in his rookie season.

Meanwhile, Bryan is a senior who has seen time at both the long-stick midfield and close defense positions. He was named a second-team all-conference selection as an LSM in each of the past two seasons (GWLL in 2009, ECAC in 2010). In 2010, Bryan ranked ninth in the nation in caused turnovers per game with 2.0, while ranking 16th in ground balls per contest (5.07).

Preseason ECAC Rankings...

In the preseason ECAC rankings voted on by the league's coaches, Air Force was selected to finish sixth in the conference. Denver, which captured the conference title in 2010, was chosen to repeat as champion, followed by Loyola in second place. Fairfield ranked third in the team projections, followed by Ohio State, Hobart, Air Force and Bellarmine.

Up Next...

The Falcons are back in action with a pair of neutral-site contests next weekend, as they head to Denver, Colo., to take part in the annual Pioneer Face-Off Classic, hosted by Denver. Air Force will face Manhattan on Saturday, March 5, while taking on Jacksonville on Sunday, March 6. Both games are slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.


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