NCAA Preview: Denver U at Air Force

Denver Pioneers @ Air Force

Sat. Feb. 8

1:00 pm

Two Colorado schools will go head-to-head this coming Saturday for a season opening showdown: Air Force and Denver U. Both teams have young programs in comparison to other colleges and both have taken off at monumental rates of success.

Air Force will host the game at their field. Coach Eric Seremet said, “With such an experienced, senior-led team this year, I’m eager to see what we can do in the final year of the ECAC. I like the geographical mix of teams on our schedule, as we’ll be able to showcase Air Force lacrosse around the country. We’ve also got a great opponent for our season opener in Denver, who is moving to the Big East this year.”

He nailed his comment right on with senior-led team and the upcoming conference realignments.

As it currently stands in the Polls, Denver is ranked No. 4. Ahead of them in order are Syracuse, North Carolina and Duke. Air Force is not ranked in the top 20 of either the USILA or the Warrior Inside Lacrosse Polls.

Air Force is host to a roster heavy with seniority and leadership. They will have a strong defense with Seniors Tom Harris (D), Kyle Cassady (M), Mike Crampton (A), and Taylar Hanley (M). They are supported with a plethora of juniors and sophomores with the skills required and will respond positively to said leadership.

Mike Crampton (Attack) heads into his senior season being claimed the preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook.

Erik Smith (Midfield) was drafted by the MLL last month and is the first player in Air Force lacrosse history to be drafted to the professional league.

Denver U. is another story. The team (which in my own opinion has awesome uniforms and gear) is projected to be No. 4 by the two main NCAA lacrosse polls. For such a young program in comparison to the competition to prosper so quickly is a legacy in itself. Now, they are projected to win the BIG EAST.

The Pioneers will send three seniors into the MLL upon completion of their 2014 season. Jeremy Noble, Terry Ellis and Jamie Faus were all selected by the Denver Outlaws.

Denver’s roster also boasts a strong offense full of standout leaders. On the flip side, their defense is very young, majority being freshmen and sophomores. The inexperience on defense could become an issue with teams on the schedule such as Duke, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Villanova.


What to expect in the matchup:

I think Air Force will perform a solid game. They have the leadership and discipline to exploit the weaknesses of the young Denver defense. However, I do not think AF is prepared for an offensive beat down. In the end I call Denver by five points.