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Lacrosse World Championships 2002

World Championships report, 8th July 2002

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LAX Herald Monday - July 8, 2002
The official publication of the 2002 World Lacrosse Championship

USA reign on Australian parade

Story and photos by Ben O'Shea

THE United States may have silenced some of their critics but were unable to silence the parochial home crowd despite giving Australia its heaviest defeat in a World Championship last night, 22-7. As the Americans warmed-up to the sound of Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' , head coach Jack Emmer warned them about taking it easy against an Australian team. This was heeded by US players as 19-year old Michael Powell capitalised on a scrappy face-off to score the opening goal, unassisted, 45 seconds into the game. The Australians, conscious of the importance of matching the US midfield, won the next face-off cleanly and moved into attack for the first time, But it proved difficult for the Aussies to sustain this attacking momentum with the US defence forcing long range shot attempts and offering little free space close to goal. When the US scored their second goal in less than three minutes, Australian coach John Denic must have been ruing lost opportunities after two of his attackers had shots deflected off the goal posts. First quarter penalities proved costly for the Australians as the US, extra-man situation specialists, turned three advantages into as many goals. Darren Nicholas gave the crowd cause for celebration when he came from behind the goal to open Australia's account for the championship. This was to be Australia's only score in the first period as the US made the most of Australia's poor handling to lead by six at quarter time. Confidence was riding high in the US camp after an attacking raid early in the second quarter gave them their eighth goal. A quick answer from Australian midfielder David Whiteman reminded them of Coach Emmer's pre-match warning. With the Australian defence just starting to come to terms with the fast feet of Powell, the US gave a glimpse of the depth of their attacking options as they strung lightning fast passes together to great effect. Tempers flared as the clock wound down in the second quarter with Aussie goalie Scott Garnsworthy given a 30 second penalty for an incident involving a number of players from both sides. The atmosphere intensified when US midfielder Scott Doyle recieved three one minute penalties for unsportsmanlike behaviour less than a minute later. With the referees struggling to maintain composure, the US regained theirs with an important Steve Dusseau goal in the last minute of the half to take the score to 10-3. Dusseau continued where he left off in the third with an early goal and when Kevin Lowe accepted an embarassing interception to score in an untended Australian goal, US momentum looked like taking over. This mistake stung the Aussies into action and when Brad Ross put his body on the line to score, shortly followed by another Whiteman goal, the home crowd sensed a comeback was on the cards. US attackers hussled another mistake out of the Australian defence in the dying seconds of the quarter to notch up a nine goal deficit in their favour. From here on in, the US showed why they deserve the favouritism afforded to previous US teams with a dominant final quarter that showcased their electrifying attack. They found the back of the net six times and a rock-solid defence held the home team scoreless despite an almost even share of possession from the face-off. Attacking sensation Michael Powell finished with five goals and a number of assists in a performance that belied his limited experience at this level and will give US fans a name to watch in the future.

Japanese continue Red dominance

Story and photos by Jessica Vanderende

JAPAN continued its dominance of Red Division yesterday with a 11-5 defeat of Germany. Controlling the match throughout, Japan more than doubled Germany's possessions and would have won more convincingly if more opportunities had been taken. Germany's head coach Jack Kaley said his players were simply outclassed. "We're very disappointed but to be honest we were lucky to be as close as we were," he said. The match started slowly but after Naoki Oyoshi scored Japan's first goal, the floodgates opened. Shinya Maruyama, who scored five goals in an explosive second quarter against Sweden, starred again with four goals but Japan's coach Makoto Sato said he expected him to play even better in their next game. Aware of Japan's superior speed, Germany's attackers tried to force their way through the Japanese defence but Japan more than held it's own in the physical clashes. Japan was often unable to find a clear path to goal but their persistence eventually paid off, with Germany's high number of turnovers and penalties aiding their effort. In the second quarter play was halted when Kaley queried if Maruyama's stick was legal and Germany's woes continued with two players injured in the final quarter. But Kaley said both players should be available for their next game against Wales. "The sorest thing is their egos," he said. Kaley said Germany would need to improve their possession skills but was confident of bouncing back and would get better as the tournament continued. But he gave credit to his goalkeeper, who was kept busy and nearly scored a goal himself, and Christopher MacAulay who scored three goals. Sato applauded his players for executing what they had practised but said they needed to work on body contact against bigger players and their control of loose balls.

Comeback not enough for Wales

By Sarah Roberts

A STRONG comeback in the final quarter was not enough to prevent Wales' losing to Sweden 10-8 and recording their second World Championship defeat yesterday. After a tight first half, the Swedes dominated the third quarter, scoring six goals to Wales' one to take a 9-3 lead. Wales countered impressively in the final quarter with five goals but Sweden's extra goal secured their win. Welsh coach Ray Nash said the team played well for one quarter but gave away too many penalties. "They need to play with their heads as well as their sticks," he said. Manager Derek Kelly said he felt the refereeing was "very inconsistent". The Welsh team was hoping to overcome a 14-7 defeat by Scotland on Friday. Sweden also started the Championship poorly, losing to Japan 19-4. Swedish coach Chuck Wohltmann said the team would need to improve for today's match against Scotland. "We played two quarters of the lacrosse we should be playing," he said. "Now we need to play four quarters." Sweden was well-served in offence by Chad Abbey, who netted three goals. Wales play Germany today in the main stadium. Welsh captain Gareth Morgan has spent the past five months in Western Australia playing for local team Wembley and coaching their under-17 side.

Scotland prevail in stadium thriller

Story and photo by Braden Quartermaine

SCOTLAND prevailed over the Czech Republic 9-8 in a thrilling Red Division match at the main stadium yesterday, with no more than a goal separating the teams throughout. Incredibly, scores were tied at 3- 3 at quarter time, 6-6 at the half and 7-7 with a quarter to play in a tense low-scoring game in which both goalkeepers reigned supreme. Scottish forward Kyle Arbuckle was inspirational in the final term scoring twice, the second putting his side in front with less than three minutes to play. However, the Czechs can take heart from their performance in this entertaining match, with John Hetzel's efforts in goal keeping his team in the game early. A dashing run from defence and accurate long pass from Czech midfielder Martin Mrlik resulted in a stunning counter-attacking goal for team mate Mirek Knotek in the third quarter. The Czech Republic would have been disappointed not to lead at three quarter time, playing with extra men for much of the third term after some undisciplined Scottish play resulted in penalties. Scotland head coach Phil Collier said discipline had been a problem and he had spoken to his players about it at the final break. He said he was very happy to come through such a tight game. "We probably learnt a lot more about ourselves today than if we had one by 10," he said. "We won in overtime against [the Czech Republic] four years ago so we expected a hard game. "We're two from two now and are setting ourselves for a good tournament." Scotland will be hoping to make it three in a row when it takes on Sweden today, while things don't get any easier for the Czech Republic with a tough match against division leaders Japan.

Iroquois pounce on English waste

By Braden Quartermaine

ENGLAND was left ruing the final minutes of the first quarter in last night's blue division clash at the Lacrosse World Championships after conceding two quick goals to the Iroquois Nationals to allow them back into the game. Nearing quarter time England held a 2-0 lead but after the Iroquois levelled at the first break the momentum shift could not have been more noticeable. The Iroquois Nationals piled on 13 unanswered goals before England could manage a third, effectively killing the match as a contest. England was steamrolled by an aggressive and skillful Iroquois outfit in the second and third quarters. Five late goals could not prevent them going down 17-8. The second term definitive, with the Iroquois having 11 shots to England's six, but more importantly scoring seven times while holding England goalless. Penalties proved costly throughout the match for the British side, with seven goals being scored by the Iroquois team while they were a man down. Iroquois' Neal Powless worked tirelessly all night, scoring six times while Scott Burnam scored four. Iroquois Nationals assistant coach Bill Bjorness was happy with the win but was not getting carried away. "It's a long tournament but now we're one and one and we're looking forward to the future," he said. "We're pretty excited right now. It's not easy coming back from that loss yesterday." England coach Dave Elwood was understandably disappointed with the loss but said his team would not lie down, even after two losses. "We'll never give up and we'll be back tomorrow [to] give it a shot," he said.

Irish green machine powers on

By Vanessa Frzop

IRELAND'S five-goal opening term set up an impressive 14-5 victory over Korea in yesterday's match. With the game being played at a fast and furious pace, Irish forward John Daley and midfielder Dan Daley dominated throughout, both finding the back of the net. The second quarter saw Ireland leading comfortably 8-0, with the Korean defence struggling to keep up with the speedy Irish. Halftime couldn't come quick enough for the Koreans and allowed them to re-group. But Irish head coach Richie Moran emphasised to his players the importance of coming out after the break full of vigour. In a bizarre incident, Moran demanded his players come back off the field after they had returned from halftime and re-enter with more visible team spirit. Moran's passionate speech had the desired effect on his players and Ireland scored three goals in as many minutes at the start of the third quarter to lead 12-2. This was largely a result of the tireless efforts of Pat McGee in attack and Kevin Dowd in the midfield. Korea's Cortland Kyoung Jin Kim retaliated with a brilliant goal, bringing some joy to the Korean supporters who had braved the cold and blustery conditions to openly show their support. Ireland relaxed in the last quarter and this resulted in several missed opportunities to extend their lead. Korea's Cortland Kyoung-Jin Kim and Brian Seung-hoon Chang capitalised on Ireland's lapse in concentration, each scoring a late goal. But Ireland was too strong and celebrated their win by huddling on the pitch and singing the Irish national anthem. Ireland will attempt to continue their good form against New Zealand at 4pm today. Hong Kong takes on Korea at 10am.

NZ rebound to defeat Hong Kong

By Tessa Heal

NEW ZEALAND recovered from Saturday's embarrassing loss to Korea to defeat Hong Kong 9-8 in a physical green division game yesterday. Jeff Avery was outstanding for New Zealand, scoring four of their nine goals in an impressive attacking game. New Zealand got off to a flying start with Avery, Nick Low and playing-coach Mark Freemon all scoring early to give their team a handy 3-0 lead at quarter time. But Hong Kong came back strongly, scoring four goals to one in the second quarter to draw level going into the main break. Both teams had their chances after half time and the third quarter was a resultant tough battle between the sides. Avery, 33, scored all three goals for New Zealand while Greg Pilarowski and Christopher Kwok Keung Li scored for Hong Kong. New Zealand went into the last quarter with a one-goal advantage but Hong Kong scored two early goals through Che Fung So and Ho Yin Lai to hit the front. New Zealand then rallied, finding the net twice in the last four minutes to secure a crucial victory. Hong Kong's midfielder Li, 17, was again one of their best, impressing with his speed and skill. Their second consecutive loss was an improvement on their 16-1 defeat at the hands of Ireland on Saturday. New Zealand's Jake Pritchard said yesterday's game showed the determination of this side after their first-up loss to Korea. "It was a really tough game but players like Jeff Avery, Nick Ravenhall and Jeremy Lee all played really well," he said. "We were strong in attack and defence." New Zealand now faces a tough test today against green division favourite Ireland. The Irish team won their first two games in convincing fashion and are playing brilliantly under the guidance of head coach Richie Moran.