The voting process for selecting the World Lacrosse Men’s Championship World Team is currently underway. The tournament has been a captivating display of the sport’s international growth, captivating fans from the beginning to the end. While the traditional powerhouses of the United States, Canada, and Haudenosaunee continue to dominate the medal games, it is evident that lacrosse as a global game is evolving rapidly. In this article, we will examine my personal ballot for the World Team selection, noting that faceoff specialists, long-stick midfielders (LSM), and short-stick defensive midfielders (SSDM) are not considered individual categories (for some reason).
Attack – Austin Staats (Haudenosaunee)
Austin Staats displayed unparalleled dominance on offense throughout the tournament, amassing an impressive 27 goals in Pool-A play. His exceptional scoring ability made him virtually unstoppable, which was a challenge for defenders. While Lyle Thompson garnered much of the defensive attention, Staats stepped up for the Haudenosaunee team, consistently finding the back of the net when his team needed it most. His physicality and offensive IQ made him one of the most exciting players in the tournament.
Attack – Rob Pannell (United States)
Rob Pannell exceeded expectations during the tournament, delivering a performance of 8 goals and ten assists. Pannell’s impact on the field was undeniable as opposing teams struggled to contain him. Positioned behind the cage, he was a constant threat, scoring goals when left unmarked and making precise passes when double-teamed. Pannell’s facilitation of the offense from the attack position made him a key component of the opposing teams’ scouting reports.
Attack – Shinya Tateishi (Japan)
Shinya Tateishi showcased his talent against high-level opponents, leaving a lasting impression with his outstanding speed and offensive abilities. Opposing defenders had difficulty keeping up with his quickness as he effortlessly bypassed them. Tateishi’s off-ball play was particularly impressive due to his excellent decision-making to find openings and capitalize on scoring opportunities. His versatility was on full display at the World Lacrosse Men’s Championship.
Midfield – Michael Sowers (United States)
Although typically associated with attack, Michael Sowers made a significant impact as a midfielder throughout the tournament. His explosive dodges were a sight to behold, showcasing his exceptional agility and elusiveness. Sowers consistently exploited favorable matchups against short-stick defenders, leaving opponents struggling to contain him. Whenever he took the field, it was almost guaranteed that something extraordinary was about to happen.
Midfield – Hiroki Kanaya (Japan)
Hiroki Kanaya’s performance throughout the tournament demonstrated his exceptional dodging skills, rivaling those of many Pool-A midfielders. Despite facing long-pole defenders, Kanaya consistently found success with his dodges. Although some of his points came against weaker opponents, he also showcased his abilities against stronger teams like England. Kanaya’s athleticism and composure during dodges made him a joy to watch, and he will be missed now that the World Lacrosse Championship has concluded.
Midfield – Brennan O’Neill (United States)
Brennan O’Neill, the only current college player on Team USA, showcased his physical presence and posed a significant challenge for opposing teams. Although his production slowed down when matched up against long-stick midfielders, O’Neill drew considerable attention from the defense due to his ability to power his way to the net. As he transitions to the Premier Lacrosse League, O’Neill is poised to become a force to be reckoned with.
Defense – Jack Rowlett (United States)
Jack Rowlett played an integral role in the United States defensive unit, consistently making crucial plays throughout the tournament. Rowlett’s tenacity and determination were evident as he hunted for caused turnovers, often initiating defensive plays for his team. His solid on-ball defense complemented his exceptional hustle for groundballs, making him a standout defenseman in the tournament.
Defense – Graeme Hossack (Canada)
Graeme Hossack, a menace in the Premier Lacrosse League, continued to demonstrate his defensive excellence at the World Lacrosse Men’s Championship. Often tasked with guarding the opposing team’s top attackman, Hossack showcased his fundamental skills without the need for flashy plays. His consistently sound defensive performances made him a pleasure to watch throughout the tournament.
Defense – John Thomas Giles-Harris (United States)
JT Giles-Harris has established himself as a special talent in the lacrosse world, and he will go down as one of the best defensemen in lacrosse history. Despite his young age, Giles-Harris dominated his matchups against some of the world’s best players. Frequently assigned to guard the opposing team’s top attackman, Giles-Harris’s lockdown defense left little room for his opponents to maneuver. His continued growth promises a bright future in a long professional career.
Goalie – Brett Dobson (Canada)
Selecting a goalie for the World Team was a difficult decision, given the exceptional performances of the United States and Canada’s goalies. However, Brett Dobson’s performance stood out, with only nine goals against and a solid 3.66 goals against average. With a save percentage of 68%, Dobson showcased his exceptional shot-stopping abilities throughout the tournament. His impressive skills on the world stage indicate a bright future, and he is well on his way to being recognized as one of the best goalies in the world.