Ramsey: Falcons' prize of No. 1 Duke is a scary one

May 7, 2014 Updated: May 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm
Caption +
Air Force midfielder Christopher Allen passes down field as Richmond midfielder Mike Burns defends during the first quarter Wednesday, May 7, 2014, of a NCAA play-in game against Richmond at Falcon Stadium. The winner faces top-seeded Duke Sunday, May 11, 2014. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Air Force's lacrosse team was pounding Richmond and inspiring defiant emotions in the small, loud, rowdy crowd at Falcon Stadium.

"We want Duke. We want Duke. We want Duke," the Air Force faithful chanted with six minutes left in Air Force's dominating 13-5 victory in the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Play-In Game.

We want Duke?


Air Force's reward for this convincing win is a trip Sunday to Durham, North Carolina, to play the nation's No. 1 team and the defending NCAA champ.

This could be one scary journey.

I talked Wednesday afternoon with Harvard lacrosse coach Chris Wojcik.

His team traveled to Durham this season to tangle with Duke. Harvard lost, 17-11.

"They've got it all," Wojcik said.

"They're extremely athletic, and the coach has done an incredible job in developing an incredible system. They play fast and they don't stop and they're big, athletic and long. They are clearly the best team in the country right now, and they are clearly the best team that we played."

Anything else, coach?

"They're great at home."

Um, thanks for those encouraging words.

A few minutes after Wednesday's victory, Air Force coach Eric Seremet stood as a quiet observer to the small party taking place in the middle of the field. As the game ended, several hundred Air Force supporters sprinted on the field to congratulate the Falcons.

Seremet is a low-key man. He's also a graduate of North Carolina, and Tar Heels are not known for their admiration of Duke's Blue Devils.

"It's a game," Seremet said of his upcoming trip to Durham.

"It's another game."

Seremet plans to continue this calm, confident approach for the rest of the week.

He will stick to his usual routine. He will not talk about all the immense joy awaiting the Falcons if they deliver one of the biggest upsets in the history of college lacrosse.

Instead, he will stick with the usual schedule. He will stick with his usual motivational approach.

"I want our kids to be relaxed and poised," he said. "I want our kids to be focused."

The Falcons certainly were focused on Wednesday. Richmond arrived in this play-in game with a losing (6-10) record, and Air Force wasted little time in trampling the Spiders. The Falcons roared to an 11-1 lead and might have scored 20 if Seremet had been in a greedy mood.

This was the ideal prep game for the journey to Duke. The Falcons toyed with an inferior opponent, basked in the adoration of a happy crowd and declined to do any serious celebrating when the game ended. Seremet and the Falcons have a higher summit in view.

The Falcons will travel to Duke with absolutely no burden resting on them. Many in the lacrosse nation don't even know Air Force fields a lacrosse team.

"I think we can play with anybody," Seremet said.

We'll find out Sunday if he's right.


Twitter: @davidlukeramsey

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