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GALVANIZING FORCE


AIR FORCE’S RESURGENCE STARTED WITH THE TEAM THAT RALLIED AROUND ERIC SEREMET IN THE WAKE OF A TRAGIC ACCIDENT BY MATT WHITE


ir Force coach Eric Seremet liked what he saw in the minutes before his team’s season- opener Feb. 5 at Duke. The Falcons looked confident and businesslike as they warmed up at Koskinen Stadium. Equally important, they didn’t look tired. The team’s first flight out of Colorado Springs had been canceled, and they arrived late Friday night into Durham, N.C., for the next day’s afternoon game. “The travel was a whole disaster,” Seremet said. “We got in after 9 o’clock, just in time to go to bed.”


Still, despite the long trip, the pressure of a No. 18 preseason ranking after a 15-3 season in 2016 and the major unease of debuting a freshman goalie against the No. 8 team in the country, the Falcons were unfazed. “There wasn’t a lot of rah-rah,” Seremet said. “It was, ‘Hey, here’s the scouting report. Here’s what we know about Duke. Let’s start the season.’”


This is the Air Force team, and attitude, that Seremet has been building for nine years in Colorado Springs — a team with talent from 17 states, a national ranking and a belief that it can finish high-pressure games against elite teams like Duke. The rookie goalie, Paxton Boyer, a Colorado native, made 14 saves. Junior Nick Hruby, a


Texan, scored four goals. And a defense anchored by sophomore Brandon Jones from Ohio held off the Blue Devils in an 11-10 upset. Seremet played for powerhouses, first at West Genesee (N.Y.) and then at North Carolina, where he won an NCAA championship in 1991. He had stints as an assistant at Stony Brook and Cornell before landing at Air Force as an assistant. When Seremet was hired as the head coach in 2010, however, he inherited the team at its


nadir. The Falcons had just 31 active players after a large group was kicked off the team for alcohol issues, a major violation at the military academy. Box scores from that season show games in which Seremet played as few as 14.


34 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE April 2017 USlacrosse.org


©MARC PISCOTTY


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