It’s Day 9 of the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships and we have more game reports because there are more games being played! Every team, and I’m not just talking about the players, is exhausted – from the refs to the reporters to the organizers, and of course the players, this is true. Teams that are pulling through together and finding ways to make it happen are earning big wins, others are starting to fall apart.
Let’s check out all the action from Day 9 as it comes in, TOGETHER! There are a TON of games going on, so we’ll do our best to get you something from all of them. Monumental effort? No doubt!
World Championships Game Reports: Day 9
Israel 9 Vs Japan 10
A HUGE win for Japan – they will now be playing in the 5th place game, and they will be back in the Blue Division in 2022, just where they want to be. This was a hotly contested games, with some of the most all over the place reffing I’ve ever seen, but it affected both teams, and we still got an absolutely thrilling one goal regulation game.
It all came down to the wire – THIS IS WHY you play the game. Compete. Give it your all. Feel every moment. Congrats to Japan on being the unofficial sleeper team of the tourney! Ok, maybe that’s Puerto Rico, but we might see those two play again. How exciting is all of this?
I’ll answer that for you – VERY. Very exciting.
SEMIFINAL – Canada 15 Vs Iroquois 4
See a FULL PHOTO BLAST here!
— Pat Gregoire (@PGreggy) July 19, 2018
Canada moves on to the finals to play the winner of the US – Australia Semifinal, The Championship game will be played on Saturday at 10 Israel time, 3am US Eastern Time.
China 15 Vs Croatia 10
Slovakia 9 Vs New Zealand 10
Philippines 12 Vs Scotland 6
Finland 7 Vs Jamaica 8
This thing was tight throughout as Finland went up 2-0 early, then Jamaica tied it up at 2. Finland would go back up 3-2 at the halftime break, and then Jamaica would come back out to take a 4-3 lead. Tied back up at 4, and Jamaica earns a 6-4 lead. Finland ties it up at 6 and Jamaica takes an 8-6 lead. Assuming the game would continue on, it seemed like Finland would again come back, but the Jamaica D held strong until there were just 38 seconds left and Jarno Aaltonen scored one to pull the Finns back to 8-7. One last regulation goal was not in the cards and Jamaica walked away with a one goal win.
While Jamaica is a first year participant, they are loaded up with talent and had high expectations for their first run through an FIL event. Finland has more FIL experience, a ton of home grown talent, and a love for the box game. Basically this had marquee match up/contrast in style heaven written all over it, and THE GAME DELIVERED!
Jamaica spent 8 minutes man down, and Finland only 1.5 but again the Jamaican D really earned this W for the squad. Mark Darden (JAM) led all scorers with 3 goals and an assist but both Nathan McPeak (JAM 11 saves) and Lauri Uusitalo (FIN 15 saves) really stole the show.
Denmark 11 Vs Korea 7
Written by Katie Conwell
Despite Denmark’s dominant lead for most of this game, Denmark and Korea actually scored the same number of goals in three out of the game’s four quarters. The second quarter, part of a seven-goal run for the Danish team, made the ultimate difference in securing Denmark’s victory. Heat and exhaustion took an obvious toll on both teams, but Korea appeared to be especially sluggish. Denmark was able to capitalize on Korea’s frequent turnovers as a result. Both team’s goalies performed well in cage.
Denmark’s James Neal Robertson and Kristian Schweitzer combined for a 66.5% save percentage, and Korea’s Sunwoo Kim saved 54% of Denmark’s shots on goal. Kim’s most impressive saves occurred with less than ten minutes left in the game when he matched his stick perfectly with the shooter and denied Denmark a goal. The ball popped out in front of the cage, and Denmark was able to get off another shot that was similarly denied.
This defensive stand led to a goal from Won Jae Park to bring the score to 9-7. Korea’s momentum was halted by Denmark’s Nicholas Steven Skeffington who scored seconds off of his team’s faceoff win. Korea was unable to comeback against the Danish, losing 11-7.
Germany 14 Vs Ireland 5
Ireland had been looking strong through much of the tourney but Germany executed a great team game plan, played up to the level, and dominated the run of play when it mattered most. Ireland looked a little beat up compared to a fresher Germany, and legs, depth, and crisp passing made a difference here.
Germany was only up 4-3 after one, and 6-4 at the half, but a big 5-1 third quarter in the Germans favor put the game out of reach for the Irish. Ireland’s 12 minutes of penalty time did not help their cause and Darin Eakins’ 16 saves for Germany only made things more difficult for Ireland. Florian Fallenbacker made three more saves in relief time.
No one scored more than a single goal for Ireland, but Germany got four goals from Adam Eakins, 3 from Per Anders-Olters, and 2 from Marc Brandenburger and Wolgang Griesl each for their big offensive push. Lukas Moll also added a goal and 2 assists in the big German win.
Turkey 9 Vs Taiwan 15
A bruised and battered Turkey team fell to Taiwan by 6 goals on Thursday. The game started out slower, as both teams were showing all the wear and tear of the tournament, and Taiwan was up 1-0 after one quarter, and 5-3 at the halftime break. In the third, Taiwan erupted for five big goals, while Turkey could only manage one. A 10-4 lead looked safe, and it turned into a 14-5 lead, but Turkey kept fighting and closed the margin down from 9 goals to the final 6 goal margin.
Credit must be given to both of these teams – Taiwan for the win of course, but Turkey as well for battling through injuries and truly giving it their all in a quest to win games and represent themselves well. Hats off to Coach Danehy for doing such a good job with such a young and inexperienced team.
Poland 11 Vs Belgium 12
This game had a lot of hype around it as being one that should be really even, and it was an early morning thriller with Belgium pulling out the one goal win in the end, 12-11. Poland went up 1-0, then Belgium took a 2-1 lead, the Poland went back ahead, 3-2, before Belgium would go up 4-3. When Belgium was up 5-4 this goal trading seemed like it would continue forever, but Poland put together an impressive run of four straight goals to take an 8-5 lead, the largest either team had seen in the game.
Belgium was having none of it, and they put together their own four goal run, to retake the lead at 9-8. At this point you pretty much knew this would be a one goal game in the end. It was just science. Poland would tie the game at 9 to break the run, but Belgium had one last three goal run up their sleeve and it gave them a 12-9 lead with just under 12 minutes to go. Poland did everything and anything to get back into it, and pulled within 1 with just under 9 minutes left but Belgium was able to make the plays they needed to hold on for the huge win over a regional rival.
Diego Spillebeen had four goals for Belgium and Kyle Baker added three goals of his own. Poland had four players score two goals apiece, and three more added a single goal, for an excellent team effort.
Italy 4 Vs Wales 15
The wheels have fallen off the Italian bus and it is now sitting on the side of the road, battered, bruised, and beat up. To be fair, the Italian team has been extremely impressive this week and won some absolutely huge games, but judging from their last couple of contests they are struggling now to get through to the end. This tourney is a ROUGH go of it, and when you come up against a team that is fully prepared for it (like Wales), things can get lopsided.
The talent on these two teams says this should have been a competitive game, but Wales has shown what deep levels of preparation can do for a team as they have been cruising through their final placement qualifier games, and winning against very good opponents. It’s what Wales does – they are undeniably consistent!
Wales is also very unselfish. In a big win like this you might think a couple of studs would just go off, but it turns out the scoring by the Dragons was super balanced. Adam Wood, Paul Simpson, and Joe Longley each had tricks. David Howie scored two goals of his own, and four other players added single goals. Talk about sharing the rock.
And in case you were wondering, YES, there were a ton of penalties in this game. Wales sat down for 8.5 minutes and Italy sat down for 9 minutes. 17.5 minutes of penalties is almost a full quarter of play man up/man down. That’s a lot.
Good luck to both teams as they play their final games tomorrow.
Hong Kong 8 Vs Czech Republic 9
The Czechs had to use all their experience and know how to get by Hong Kong, but they pulled a one goal win out of thin air and made it happen. Of the Czech goals, 7 were scored by Ondrej Sochna (4) and Tomas Prochazka (3) and only four players registered any points in the game. Pavel Dosly added a goal to keep his impressive scoring going, but his real contribution was the 4 assists he handed out. As a leader, game grower, and one heck of a player you don’t get much better than Pavel Dosly.
Stephen Edward O’Brien led HK with 3 goals and an assist, while Evan Mok-Lamme added 2 goals and also had a helper. Wai Kwon Wong was solid in goal making 10 saves on the day, even as he took the loss. William Pokorny’s 3 saves in the 4th quarter were all crucial, and he did just enough to give his team a chance at a W, and they pulled it off.
Argentina 16 Vs Spain 12
In one of the higher scoring early games Spain took a 6-4 lead after 20 minutes of play, and were still up at the half, 9-8. Argentina had scored 4 goals in both the first and second quarters, and if there was any sign of them slowing down I did not see it. 4 more goals in the third quarter gave Argentina 12 goals, while Spain had fallen off, finishing with 11. In the 4th quarter Argentina AGAIN pumped in 4 goals, Spain dropped off completely, and only scored 1.
While Spain started in a sprint, they had to slow down, and Argentina played the role of the tortoise, slowly but steadily scoring 4 goals per quarter to earn a high-scoring win over a rival sporting nation on the world’s stage.
This was a relatively clean game, with each team serving about 3 minutes in penalties. Mike Gvozden made 15 huge saves in net for Argentina, while Alejandro Ferri made 8 saves for Spain in second half action. Alex Weber’s six goals and Matt Gudas’ four goals powered much of the Argentina offense but Ryan Volatile and Octavio Bernabo each scored two big goals to help the effort along. Spain got 5 goals from Connor Cinquegrana, 3 from Diego Larraz Ramirez, and 2 from Ignacio Farjas Gomez.
Sweden 14 Vs Hungary 8
Hungary is banged up and using every bit of their experience and IQ to earn wins now but Sweden has similar levels of IQ and their depth is a lot, well… deeper. Fresher legs, healthier players, and some big outside shooters got Sweden past Hungary in solid fashion on Thursday as the Swedes opened up a 4-0 lead after one quarter of play and pretty much maintained that gap through to the end.
Leif Paulson paced Sweden with 4 goals, and six other players scored 1 or 2 goals to push the margin further ahead. Hungary had six scorers themselves, but with no one notching more than 2 goals, Sweden was not going to be caught. Jon Yen made 10 saves in the loss, while Christopher Wall made six saves to earn the win.
Bermuda 16 Vs Korea 4
Netherlands 10 Vs Austria 7
Puerto Rico 4 Vs England 11
Written by Justin Meyer
It’s official: England stays blue.
With its 11-4 defeat of Puerto Rico on Thursday at Epoch Field, the English secured a top-six finish and its spot in the 2022 Blue Division.
From the beginning, England controlled the game, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and never looking back, able to keep in check a Puerto Rican attack that had otherwise proven dynamic in this tournament.
“We talk a lot about the first five minutes of the game, trying to do all the little thing well and focus on whatever your role is on the field,” said England head coach Tom Wenham. “We made that happen. Having pushed that a lot in our pre-game meeting and pre-game planning, it was pleasing to see the guys do that.”
The Puerto Ricans weren’t playing with a full deck, though, as one of their main goal scorers attackman Kevin Lewis had to be taken to the hospital with a left knee injury he sustained early in the game. To make matters worse, face-off specialist Jared Hershman hurt his right knee shortly after a face-off in the second quarter. Hershman has been a force at the X in this tournament, a driving force behind Puerto Rico’s run to the top eight.
“The two gentlemen who are hurt and couldn’t play are really what we initiate our offense around, and they are our leaders,” said Puerto Rico head coach Jeff Ramos. “Trying to communicate to the sidelines from the field is pretty difficult, and they’re basically coaches on the field.”
But even before the injuries, England wrestled control of the game from Puerto Rico. The team smothered its opposition, holding Puerto Rico to by far its fewest goals of any game this tournament.
“I thought we were doing a really good job with our close defense,” Wenham explained. “We did a lot of film review. We did a lot of our game plan on how we wanted to structure things defensively.”
With the win, England has bought itself another four years in the Blue Division, maintaining its streak of never missing the Blue Division in any World Championships since the concept’s inception in 1998. Although England still has another game and could finish fifth or sixth, this still begs the question: has this tournament been a success?
“When we came into it, we wanted to be in the medal game, so I think from that point-of-view, we feel like there’s more we could have done,” Wenham said. “But ultimately the aim for us is to continue top six and to maintain our current ranking. This is undoubtedly the most competitive World Championships we’ve ever had. The quality of world lacrosse is growing, and that makes the achievement finishing in the top six one to cherish even more.”
For Puerto Rico, it’s the end of a dream run in the country’s first World Championships. The team still has another game Friday for seventh place against the host Israelis, but it’s ultimately not what it would have hoped after earning a spot in the quarterfinal and getting within one win of the Blue Division. There are plenty of positives to take away, though.
“This was important to us. We wanted to win and sneak into the Blue Division,” Ramos said. “But realistically, every win from here on out was icing on the cake for us. If we finish seventh or eighth, I would never have guessed it when we first came out here. We’ve accomplished everything we wanted to, probably more.”
The seventh-place game between Puerto Rico and Israel will be played Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPN Field. England will play for fifth place against Japan on Friday at 10:40 p.m. on ESPN Field.
Latvia 14 Vs Greece 9
Written by Matt Anderson
In what was an exciting game from start to finish, Latvia defeated Greece by a score of 14-9 at Nike Field at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel.
Both teams traded goals in the first quarter, alternating punches as each team scored three goals apiece. Nicholas Kakos scored Greece’s first two goals of the game, while Latvia had three different goal-scorers aid the the Latvian effort early.
Greece scored two goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter to take the 5-3 lead. Latvia then went on a 3-0 run, led by Ģirts Sproģis. Sproģis scored two of Latvia’s goals in the second quarter after having scored one in the first quarter. He would score four goals in the contest and an assist in the win.
While things had been tight early in the game, Latvia used two four-goal scoring quarters to pull away from Greece in the second half. Greece was only able to score one goal late in the third quarter when Agyris Dinoris fed Alex Karlis, who buried the shot in the back of the net.
Greece came within one goal when Nate Lewnes added another two goals within seconds of each other early in the fourth quarter. However, Latvia closed the game on a four-goal run to seal the victory for the Latvians.
Latvia will compete for the No. 17 spot in the world against Norway on Nike Field at 9:15 IDT. Greece will compete against Switzerland for the No. 19 spot at the world games on Nike Field immediately preceding the Latvian game. Both games can be viewed on ESPN+.
Latvia is looking to improve on their nineteenth-place finish in Denver during 2014, while this is Greece’s first time appearing in the FIL World Lacrosse Championships.