Category Archives: International
Lacrosse Magazine September 2014 Issue Released Featuring Team Uganda And Full Coverage And Reporting At The FIL World Championships
Team Canada Men Defeat USA 8-5 To Win 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championship; Earns Third Title With Ball Control And Dominant Defensive Effort
It wasn’t pretty, and the announced 11,861 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park booed Canada in the second half as the team milked a lead that swelled to 8-2 early in the fourth quarter. But it worked. Canada earned just its third world championship Saturday with a shocking 8-5 win.
Despite an attack-driven offense led throughout the tournament by leading scorers Curtis Dickson, Mark Matthews and Adam Jones, it was Canada’s midfield that stepped up in the final. Canada midfielder Kevin Crowley, a Chesapeake Bayhawk who came into the game with three goals in six games, scored five times, and midfielder Jordan Hall, who had just one assist in the tournament, finished with two assists.
Veteran faceoff specialist Geoff Snider, the hero of Canada’s surprise 2006 gold medal in London, Ontario, helped the Canadians to a 35-22 ground-ball advantage and limited Team USA’s duo of Greg Gurenlian and Chris Eck, who went 7-for-14 on the night.
The U.S. offense went cold against Canada. It managed just 30 shots — nearly 20 below its tournament average — against goalkeeper Dillon Ward (10 ), who played well en route to Most Valuable Player honors. A late three-goal run by Team USA cut Canada’s lead to 8-5 with 6:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, firing up the crowd and generating some loud “U-S-A” chants, but it couldn’t get them all the way back. A goal by Canada’s Wesley Berg with 5:01 left was called off, but the United States couldn’t sustain its momentum and did not score again.
Kevin Leveille led the United States with a hat trick, while dangerous midfielders Paul Rabil (Johns Hopkins) and Dave Lawson, who had combined for 42 points entering the final, failed to register a goal or an assist. Rob Pannell had a goal and three assists for the Americans.
The game started slowly, with Canada taking a 2-0 lead after the first quarter on two goals by Crawley. Neither team made much progress in the second quarter, either, and the Canadians took a 3-1 lead into halftime. But just as Team Canada showed against the Iroquois Nation in its 12-6 semifinal win Thursday night, it was an overwhelming third quarter that proved most crucial.
This was the fifth straight time the United States and Canada have played in the gold-medal game, with the Americans winning the last world championship, in 2010, behind MVP Rabil.
And yet still, when the post-game huddle broke, U.S. assistant coach Dave Pietramala made sure to remind everyone, “We can be better.” Really?
Pietramala’s defense was well-prepared and executed. Close defenseman Tucker Durkin marked Lyle Thompson, as he did when the pair matched up against each other in college, and limited him to two assists. Michael Evans held Miles Thompson in check (three goals) and Lee Zink blanked crease attackman Cody Jamieson and rising Syracuse senior Randy Staats when he moved down to attack from midfield where he started the game. Staats also drew the pole of Kyle Hartzell when he played midfield.
Durkin used a tough punch check to harass Thompson throughout the tilt, and got plenty of support from roamers looking to close in if the ball appeared in a stick longer than a couple seconds. The Iroquois ended up taking fewer shots (14) than the U.S. scored goals. Pannell outscored the Nationals by two goals on his own.
“We knew a lot of their dodgers are very good at keeping the ball in their stick,” Durkin said. “We wanted to make sure when we doubled, we came in hard and we made sure to try to get the ball on the ground. The biggest thing for us was protecting inside, they are so good at hitting cutters backside, inside, through the defense. We wanted to protect the interior of the defense. We thought that was crucial.”
The U.S. didn’t watch any tape of past Johns Hopkins-Albany games in its “bunker,” its converted common-room space in the dorms at Denver University, where the group meets before doing generally anything, including breaking down film. But they did watch the last couple Iroquois games here, with Lyle Thompson shifted to attack.
Robinson, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound defenseman whose shoulder-length hair reflects his alter ego as an avid surfer, and Mundorf both wound up in the penalty box. It set the tone for a 16-penalty slugfest, with the U.S. pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 16-7 victory.
“They gotta earn respect from us and we gotta earn respect from them. We don’t want to give them too much, and we don’t want to give them too little,” said Robinson, a Wembley Lacrosse Club export who is one of the top defensemen in NCAA Division III at Stevenson. “We just tried to beat ’em up a little bit and run with ’em.”
The strategy kept the game close. Matt Diver’s second man-up goal with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter pulled Australia, which defeated Japan in double-overtime Friday, within five at 11-6.
But Team USA, bolstered by a 17-for-23 combined faceoff performance by Chris Eck and Greg Gurenlian and an inspired effort on both ends of the field by Paul Rabil, finished the game on a 5-1 run that included Rabil scoring on a hidden-ball trick.
Rabil and Dave Lawson scored four goals apiece, Marcus Holman had three goals and an assist, and Rob Pannell added two goals and two assists.
“Teams want to be physical. Their defense checked hard and played hard. We were a little stagnant at times offensively,” Holman said. “We stayed with it and got some good goals.”
Team USA amassed nine minutes on nine penalties. Australia had seven penalties for 5 minutes, 30 seconds.
“You can’t take a ton of penalties,” Lawson said. “That’s something we definitely need to improve on.”
Team USA improved to 2-0 and moved into first place in the Blue Division. The U.S. will play Japan on Sunday. Australia fell to 1-1 and will meet England.
Midfielder Paul Rabil – the Best and Fairest Player (MVP) of the 2010 world championship in Manchester, England – sparked the rally, assisting on two of the first three scores and scoring unassisted on the fourth goal to give Team USA its first lead of the day. He added another late as the U.S. held off the pesky Canadians, who scored three of the final four goals to keep the pressure on as time wound down.
Jesse Schwartzman and Team USA’s defense kept a very good Canada offense in check. The Canadians were held scoreless over a 30-minute stretch during the U.S. run. Schwartzman made seven saves to earn the win, while Team USA allowed Canada just 20 shots on the night, compared to 40 that its offense generated.
Team Canada goalie Dillon Ward was outstanding in the losing effort, totaling 18 saves to help his team keep it close despite the U.S. run. Canada’s offense just ran dormant for that long period and never could get closer than within three of the U.S. Zack Greer scored twice for Canada, while Mark Matthews had a goal and an assist.
Rob Pannell and Kevin Buchanan, with two goals and an assist apiece, both also had solid games in their world championship debuts for Team USA. In total, seven players scored goals for coach Richie Meade’s squad. Six of the 10 goals were assisted.
Both teams have an off day as the rest of the tournament kicks off with games all dayFriday. Team USA looks to stay perfect in Blue Division play with Australia – third place in 2010 – on Saturday at 5 p.m. Canada takes on England at 8 p.m. immediately following that contest.