CENTERVILLE, Mass. – A program-record eight Air Force lacrosse players were honored by the ECAC Lacrosse League in their annual awards, as voted on by the league’s coaches and announced on Wednesday morning. Leading the way for the Falcons was senior captain Mike Crampton, who was tabbed the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, while head coach Eric Seremet was selected as the Coach of the Year.
Seremet led the Falcons to an 8-5 regular season record in 2014, including a 3-1 mark in the ECAC to earn a share of the league’s regular season championship. It marks the first-ever Division I conference title for the Falcons, who won multiple league championships as a member of the inter-divisional Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League prior to 1993. Air Force’s eight wins are the most in a single season since 1995, while the Falcons have secured their first winning season since the 1997 season. Seremet becomes the first Air Force lacrosse coach to earn Coach of the Year honors since Capt. Terry Leary was named the GWLL Coach of the Year in 1997.
Crampton, a second-team selection on attack on 2013, has registered a league-leading 35 goals on the season, scoring 51 total points this year. A native of Kinnelon, N.J., Crampton currently ranks eighth on the Falcons’ list for career goals with 114 and holds the Air Force record for both career goals and points (162) in the modern era. He became just the 11th player in school history to reach 100 career goals and is the first Falcon since 1991 to register multiple 50-point seasons. Additionally, Crampton, a four-time ECAC Offensive Player of the Week this season, is just the second Air Force player to earn a major award in a Division I conference, joining Dayton Gilbreath, who was tabbed the GWLL Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Other major award winners this season included Ohio State’s Joe Meurer, who was tabbed the defensive player of the year, Bellarmine’s Bobby Schmitt, who was named the specialist of the year, and Fairfield’s Jack Murphy and David Fleming, who garnered goalkeeper of the year and rookie of the year honors, respectively.
Joining Crampton on the ECAC first team were junior Keith Dreyer and seniors Erik Smith and Matt Puleo. Earning second-team all-conference honors were seniors Tommy McKee and Kyle Cassady and sophomore Alex Warden, while freshman Austin Smith was named to the league’s all-rookie team.
Ohio State each led the way with eight overall selections on the all-conference team, including three first-team All-ECAC picks. The Falcons landed seven overall selections and four first-team honorees, while Fairfield also had four players named to the first team and six selections overall. In addition, Bellarmine and Michigan each had a first-team pick and two overall selections.
Dreyer earns his first All-ECAC selection at attack, ranking second for the Falcons in total points (35) in 2014, including a team-best 22 assists. Dreyer, a native of Malvern, Pa., currently ranks tied for second in the league in total assists this season and is ranked in the top 25 nationally in assists per game. Additionally, he ranks eighth in school history in career assists with 84.
Erik Smith, named to the first team at midfield, receives all-conference accolades for the second year, after being named to the second team in 2013. A senior captain from Golden, Colo., Smith has scored a career-best 32 points in 2014, tallying 19 goals and 13 assists on the season. The first-ever Air Force player to be professionally drafted, Smith also leads the Falcons in face-off win percentage this season, winning 56-of-100 draws on the year. Additionally, he leads Air Force in total ground balls for the fourth-straight year and owns the Falcons’ modern era record for ground balls in a career (218).
Rounding out Air Force’s first-team honorees is Puleo, who earns ECAC all-conference accolades for the first time in his career. A defenseman from Whitehouse Station, N.J., Puleo has started every game in his career for Air Force, and has recorded 13 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers in 2014.
Capturing second-team All-ECAC honors on attack is McKee, a native of Holt, Mich. Despite battling injuries this season, McKee has tallied 34 total points on the year, ranking second on the team in total goals with 26. He also ranks second behind Crampton in career goals during the Falcons’ modern era with 91. McKee currently holds the nation’s longest goal scoring streak, notching at least one goal in 32 straight games dating back to the 2012 season.
Cassady also earns his first All-ECAC recognition at midfield, turning in a career-best 33 points (21g, 12a) in 2014. The senior captain from Upper Arlington, Ohio, ranks third on the team in total goals and shares the team lead for man-up goals on the season with four. He has registered three hat tricks in his career, all coming this season.
Meanwhile, Warden, a member of the ECAC All-Rookie team in 2013, earns second-team honors on defense this season. One of the Falcons’ top defensemen, the Glen Mills, Pa., native has recorded 24 ground balls on the season and shares the team lead in caused turnovers with 13.
Also on Wednesday, the ECAC announced its all-rookie team for the third year, comprised of 10 players. Michigan led the conference with four all-rookie picks, while Fairfield added three. Air Force, Bellarmine and Ohio State rounded out the group with one selection each.
Earning a spot on the all-rookie team was Austin Smith, who played primarily on the Falcons’ second midfield. A native of Golden, Colo., he played in all 13 regular season games for the Falcons, starting four, including three games on attack. He registered 14 total points (9g, 5a) and led Air Force with an impressive .750 shooting percentage.
Air Force heads to Columbus, Ohio, the ECAC Lacrosse League Championship this week, where they will compete for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Falcons, seeded third in the tournament, will face second-seeded host Ohio State in the second semifinal, which is slated to begin at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, May 1.
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