Air Force Hangs On for ECAC Win Over Michigan
from Press Release
USAFA, Colo. – Senior captains Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) and Kyle Cassady(Upper Arlington, Ohio) combined for 13 points to lead the Air Force lacrosse team to a 15-12 victory over ECAC foe Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
For the second-straight week, Crampton tallied four goals and three assists to pace the Falcons' offense. With his performance, Crampton moved into a tie for 10th place on the Falcons' all-time goal scoring list, now with 101 career goals. He becomes the first Air Force player since 1994 to reach 100 goals for his career. Meanwhile, Cassady also had a standout game for the Falcons, scoring a career-high six points (3g, 3a) with his second hat trick of the season.
Air Force got out to a quick start, scoring just six seconds into the contest as senior captain Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.) won the opening face-off to feed Crampton for the first goal of the game. The Falcons tacked on two more goals in the next two minutes before Michigan got on the scoreboard at the 12:11 mark, while Crampton tallied his third score (the 100th of his career) less than four minutes into the game.
The Falcons added two more goals—one from freshman Austin Smith (Golden, Colo.) and one from junior Keith Dreyer (Malvern, Pa.)—to take a 6-1 advantage with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter, while the Wolverines notched a score in the final minute of the period.
Michigan picked up momentum early in the second quarter, tallying three straight scores to cut the margin to one goal. However, Air Force notched three goals—including a pair from senior Tommy McKee (Holt, Mich.) in the final five minutes of the half—to take a 9-5 lead into the intermission.
Cassady scored the first two goals of the second half to give Air Force its largest advantage of the game, but the Wolverines responded with two scores of their own, including a man-up goal midway through the period, to bring the deficit down to 11-7. However, goals from Dreyer and Crampton gave the Falcons a 13-7 edge heading into the final stanza.
The Wolverines were still not done fighting, scoring two goals in the first minute and a half of the fourth quarter. Erik Smith added his second goal of the game with just under 13 minutes to play to push Air Force's margin back to five. After a seven-minute scoreless drought for both teams, Michigan tallied a man-up score with 5:27 remaining and added another goal a minute later. The Wolverines got as close as two goals down the stretch, finding the back of the net with 28 seconds on the clock, but Air Force closed out the game with the first goal of the season by sophomore Danny Brown (Mooresville, N.C.) with just seven seconds remaining.
Michigan outshot Air Force for the game, 50-37, with the biggest difference coming in the fourth quarter, taking 20 shots compared to just eight for the Falcons. The Wolverines also had the edge on face-offs, with specialist Brad Lott winning 17-of-30 draws for Michigan. Meanwhile, Air Force's goalkeepers—sophomores Brett Dadiego (Baldwin, N.Y.) and Doug Gouchoe (Concord, Mass.)—combined for 13 saves.
McKee finished with three goals and an assist to help Crampton and Cassady on the offensive end, while Dreyer (2g, 1a) and Erik Smith (1g, 2a) added three points each. Leading Michigan's offense was Kyle Jackson, who registered three goals and an assist, while David McCormack added three goals.
"We got off to a good start," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "We were very efficient in our shooting early on. We made a few mistakes down the stretch, but fortunately we created that early cushion and we grinded it out. We're a grind-it-out team—we're not a team that anything is going to come easy for. We're going to have to work and our guys stepped up when they needed to."
"We gave our two game balls to Mike Crampton and Kyle Cassady," continued Seremet. "Kyle had a great game—he really stepped up today. He's always steady for us, but today he took it to another level."
With the win, the Falcons move to 6-3 on the season and 2-0 in the ECAC, while the Wolverines fall to 4-7 overall and 1-1 in the league. Air Force also extends its win streak to four games and clinches a berth in the ECAC Lacrosse League tournament, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio, May 1 and 3.
Air Force is back in action next Saturday, April 5, for a non-conference contest against Mercer. The game is slated to begin at 12:00 p.m. in Falcon Stadium.
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