When Ori Bar David first took up lacrosse, he couldn’t have known he would score a goal in his hometown at the World Championships.
On Saturday, that’s exactly what happened.
Bar David’s goal was inconsequential in the scheme of the game. It was Israel’s fourteenth goal of the night in the middle of the third quarter of the Blue and White’s 19-2 blasting of Russia to secure the Red Division title. But in the context of what it means, it was the biggest of all.
“I scored a goal in the U19s, now I score a goal in the men’s,” Bar David said after collecting himself. “It is a dream come true.”
The 18-year-old midfielder is from Netanya, the tournament’s host city, and coaches a local youth team of children ages 9 to 15. Some of his players were at ESPN Field and watched their lacrosse mentor score his first senior international goal on the biggest international stage and add another one shortly before the end of the game.
“I wanted to score in front of my Kiryat HaSharon kids, the kids who I coach,” Bar David said. “I tried to score a few times before that, and it didn’t go my way. Finally, I score, and I’m really happy about that.”
As if the moment wasn’t perfect enough, Bar David scored off a pass from midfielder Dan Leventhal. Years ago, Leventhal came to Bar David’s school and introduced students to lacrosse. Bar David was one of those students.
Now, Leventhal not only gets to wear the same national jersey at a World Championships as his former pupil, but he had a hand in the proudest moment of his lacrosse career.
“Absolutely incredible to see him on this world stage playing with men at 18 years old,” Leventhal said. “The guy I introduced the sport to coming here and lighting it up today, I couldn’t have been happier that I had the assist to him. So happy for him, so happy for his family, so happy for all the Israelis here. This is what it’s all about.”
Bar David couldn’t have picked a better player to assist his shining moment.
“We had a connection from the first time he coached me,” Bar David said of Leventhal. “We are thinking the same things. I knew it was going to happen.”
The moment was important for more than Bar David and Leventhal. For his other teammates and coaches, some of whom have watched the native Israeli grow up in the sport, they couldn’t be prouder.
“It was amazing for the program and him personally,” Israel head coach Bill Beroza said. “He’s 18 years old. His next step after this is going into the military. He must have taken 10 shots before he got his first one. He wanted a goal badly.”
Israel will start its bracket play Monday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN Field with the opponent to be determined. Russia will challenge Luxembourg in its opening bracket play matchup Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Cascade Field.