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Classy USA Win Tops Off Festival of Lacrosse
By Ben Anderson and Todd Cardy
THE USA won its 8th World Lacrosse Championship yesterday after surviving a second quarter comeback from Canada, in the end prevailing 18-15. In a hard-fought match the US, unfancied before the tournament, outplayed Canada. Canada's defence was found wanting in the opening quarter allowing the US take an early three-nil lead. Star midfielder Doug Shanahan continued his outstanding World Championship form as he dominated face-offs giving the US the first use of the ball. With the US gaining early momentum, Canada called a time-out to regroup. The move proved successful with John Grant Jr and Tracey Kelusky finding the back of the net twice to get Canada back into the game. In contrast to their previous encounter fouls were rare with the first not being recorded until the 18th minute of the first quarter. A resurgent Canada took to the field after the first break full of fire capitalising on two American time penalties to score twice. A clever sideline save by John Grant Jr enabled Canada to score again bringing them within a goal. Matthew Shearer then scored to tie the game at six-all. Canada hit the lead for the first time with a spectacular over the shoulder shot by veteran Paul Gait. After a US time-out, Doug Shanahan scored his team's only goal for the quarter. From then on bad passing and a Canadian lapse in concentration let the US back in the game, allowing them to go into the final quarter with a three-goal buffer. A frustrated Canadian side again drew level by scoring the first three goals of the final period. Both sides questioned the legality of their opponent's sticks in the last minutes of the game delaying the final whistle. After coming within a goal of the US, a stick check was called against John Tavores disallowing his goal. Team USA coped with the interruptions better than their opponents scoring the next two goals to clinch its sixth successive championship. Victorious American coach Jack Emmer said he was particularly pleased with the win because not many people gave the young Americans a chance at the beginning of the tournament. Shanahan said comments about America's lack of experience were fuel to their fire. "We bulldozed through our opponents because we did not come down here just to play," he said. "We came to win." Canadian coach Frank Nielsen said America simply outplayed them on the day. "They were better at the field game than us," he said.
USA 6-1-6-5 18 d CAN 2-7-1-5 15
Korea vs Wales
by Jessica Vanderende
Green Division Korea scored a shock defeat over Red division Wales to win the battle for 11th place 16-12. Blakely Kyoung-Soo Kim was a force to be reckoned with in the first quarter scoring four goals to avenge Korea's previous loss to Wales at the championships and take his side to a 6-1 win. Wales responded in the second quarter breaking through Korea's defence to be only two goals down at half-time. However they were unable to sustain the comeback and Korea's pace again caught them off guard. In the second half Wales' defence held strong but Korea's speed and agility allowed them to take full advantage of Wales' turnovers and score against the flow of play. Cortland Kyoung-Jin Kim, who has been strong throughout the championships, was again a focal point in front of goals scoring six times overall for Korea. Korea and Ireland took everyone by surprise at this year's championships and by defeating Wales Korea proved they may be worthy of promotion to red division for the next championships.
Sweden vs Czech Republic
By Vanessa Frzop
The wet weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Czech Republic and Sweden in their final game of the World Championship. Sweden scored two winning goals with less than two minutes remaining on the clock. Sweden's Magnus Hall scored the opening goal prompting Czech Republic attacker Jiri Mikulka to retaliate with a goal six minutes later. This set the pace for the rest of the game. The Swedes played a clean game finishing with only five minutes of penalties compared to their last match, in which they accumulated 25 minutes. There was some confusion over the legality of Per Nilsson's lacrosse stick when it was noticed that the ball would not come out of the stick's net when it was held upside down. Nilsson was let off when the referee ruled the rain was affecting the tightness of the net. In the second quarter Sweden called a time out, to re-group and change their tactics due to the torrential rain-pour which was affecting the ball handling skills of both teams. The time-out worked when Brian Doucette scored a goal one minute after the time-out. In the last ten minutes of the second quarter the Czech Republic's Pavel Dosly received a penalty for unnecessary roughness, which saw him sidelined for two minutes. In the lead up to half-time, the Swedes were leading 4-3. The creases were no longer visible at half-time with the turf being ripped up and turning into mud from the rain. The second half of the game saw the Czechs making some headway, drawing the game 5-5. The sporadic bursts of torrential rain made it hard for some of the officials to spot mistakes. With a minute left on the clock, Sweden called a time out. Spectators speculated the Swedes would take the ball to the other end of the field and then waste time playing cat and mouse. They were half right. The Swedes took off down the field, and did not waste time in scoring a goal thanks to Mark Jackson, with 21 seconds left on the clock. The end of the game saw the Swedes win 8-6, who immediately lined up to take their celebratory photos, grabbed their water bottles and soaked their coach amid roaring laughter.
Japan vs England
By Peter Law
Red division Japan pulled off one of the upsets of the tournament by defeating the Blue division England 13-12 on Sunday. Japan's hero was Yoshiro Suzumra who gave his country the lead for the first time in the match just 16 seconds before full-time. England's Paul Flowers made a late run at the Japanese goal but his desperate attempt flew wide and Japan had achieved their highest ever finish at a World Championship. In a defensive opening to the game, neither side was willing to concede the first goal. But England opened the scoring when Paul Fullerton finished off a well executed set-move. Both teams displayed signs that the gruelling week had taken its toll, with the match played at a slower-pace than the previous Championship games. Japan were unable to capitalise on centreman Hideyuki Kanda's dominance of the face-off and squandered several early attacking opportunities. England were rewarded for their patience in attack to enjoy a three goal lead at half-time. England maintained their relentless pressure on the Japanese defence in the third quarter and forced several miracle saves from goalie Hidekazu Yoshida. A frustrated England conceded six second-half penalties which the Japanese attackers capitalised on, closing the margin to two goals setting up another nailbiting finish going into the last period. England looked to have sealed the result when Fullerton added two quick goals to finish with six for the match. But he played a lone-hand in attack, as his team mates stalled in the final minutes. Naoki Oyoshi tied the scoreboard when he pounced on a wayward pass by English goalie Ben McAllister. With Japan in possession and 30 seconds left on the clock, Japanese Coach Makoto Sato called a time-up to conspire an unlikely victory. Japan moved the ball forward quickly and when Suzumra fired the ball of his hip Japan had snatched the lead for the first time in the game. And when the final English assault failed the Japanese players erupted, sending their sticks, gloves and helmets skyward in unprecedented scenes. Head coach Makoto was lifted in the air by his jubilant players. This was Japan's finest hour and their greatest ever victory in their short lacrosse history.
Scotland vs Germany
By Nicole Atkins
Scotland beat Germany with a 12-11 win in over time. The teams were neck and neck throughout the match, with the scoreboard showing three goals apiece at the close of the first quarter. The Germans managed to gain possession at the start of the second quarter and after passing the ball around among themselves, attacker Marten Schnizler scored the first goal. Scotland replied with a missed shot on goal moments later. Germany then stole the ball back, pushing Scottish defenders out of the way until Schnizler took a blow from a slash and fell to the ground, resulting in a one-minute penalty for the Scottish defender. German Greg Wojtech had possession of the ball and made a sprint for the goal, passing two Scottish defenders to score another goal for Germany and bringing them two goals ahead. Ian Cassidy made an impressive shot on goal for the Scots at the start of the second half, which was caught in mid air by a German defender. The ball went to German midfielders and minutes into the second half, Alexander Daskalow had their fourth goal. Germany won the face off, but Scotland quickly took control, with Dan Heighway making a fast shot on goal, which was deflected by German goalkeeper Beret Dickson. Scotland adopted a new approach, and passed the ball between themselves, circling the goal, keeping German defenders at bay, until taking a shot at goal which took their opponents by surprise. After winning the face off, Scotland tried the same trick again, but German gaolie Beret Dickson was ready for the onslaught, deflecting the shot and sending the ball to the German end. Amid the contest in front of Scotland's goal, Scottish midfielder Ian Cassidy fell with an injured leg, and had to leave the field. Regaining possession, Germany's Christopher MacAulay took the ball for a run, dodging Scottish defenders, but lost possession at the final moment. With the ball on the ground inside the goal circle and hungry Scottish attackers closing in on German defenders, Scotland scored a forced goal. It was not long before Germany recovered their poise, and scored in the right goal minutes later. Scotland scored the first goal of the term and went on to win the ensuing face off, directing play towards the German goal, until the ball was intercepted by German defenders. Christopher MacAulay put another goal on the board for Germany, sneaking it in around the corner of the net. Scotland later took control, bringing the ball to their end and scoring a few minutes later, creating a tie with only minutes left on the clock. Germany came close to scoring a number of times, but their shots were either wide or deflected. Scotland led Germany 10:9 after scoring with nine seconds to go, sending Germany's attack into overdrive. The Germans replied with a goal four seconds later, bringing the score back to a tie and sending the game into overtime. After a hotly contested face off, the Germans got a brief hold on the ball, but Scottish attackers were quick to reclaim it, scoring their eleventh goal soon after. Scotland kept the ball in their end until a technical foul was called on attacker, Kyle Arbuckle. Play resumed with Germany in possession, but they were unable to score before the close of the first period of overtime. The second period began with 11:10 to Scotland, but Germany soon levelled the score with another goal. Play was fast and furious with minutes left in the second period. An interference call gave Scotland possession with six seconds on the clock and the game still tied. At the last moment, Scotland's Alistair Hodgson scored the twelfth and final goal of the match to make Scotland the winners.
Australia takes bronze against determined Iroquois
By Ben O'Shea
AUSTRALIAN coach John Denic had only two words for his team at half time - heart and guts. Appropriate words considering the home team's lacklustre first half effort had given the Iroquois easy opportunities resulting in a three goal advantage. Iroquois midfielder JD Jones' strong running on the counter-attack created headaches for the Aussies early, although Ben Fleming's tireless work in defence prevented the score blowing out even further. Poor shot selection and simple skill errors undermined Australia's attempts at capitalising on an even amount of possession during the half with Joe Solomon proving impenetrable in the Iroquois goal. At the other end Australia were unable to close up the space around goal and a lack of pressure through the midfield allowed Iroquois veteran Dan Burnam to score, going coast to coast in spectacular style. Heeding the coach's words, a different Australian team ran onto the field after the major break and with the flat performance of the first half well and truly forgotten, Russell Brown took less than two minutes to post the first score of the term. When David Whiteman's outside shot rocketed into the back of the net to reduce the margin to one, the Iroquois and the subdued home crowd knew the Australians were back in the hunt. If more inspiration was needed it came in the form of some scrambling defence from Gordon Purdie who found himself saving goals on the last line of defence as keeper Warren Brown was caught out of position. Scott Griffin fuelled the Australian fire with a diving goal to level the game with just four minutes remaining in the third term and added another shortly after to give the home team the lead for the first time. With the crowd finally starting to vocalise their support, the Iroquois made the most of an extra man situation to even things up with only seconds remaining in the third. Iroquois coach Ron Doctor would have been happy to take this score into the break, but Australia had other ideas, carrying the ball from one end of the field to the other giving Scott Griffin his fourth and retaking the lead, 8-7 as the referee's whistle ended the quarter. With infringements early in the fourth quarter creating advantages for the Iroquois, Scott Burnam was only happily to oblige, scoring his first for the game. Iroquois spirits rose when triple All-American Gewas Schindler's fancy footwork close-in resulted in a momentum shifting goal, complimented just 20 seconds later by a Neal Powless effort which stretched the margin to two. A Peter Inge goal shortly after narrowed this lead to one but it was left up to consummate showman Ryan Garnsworthy to score the equaliser and bring the crowd back into the game. The second Garnsworthy goal for the quarter broke the deadlock to make it 12-11, but the referee's whistle ended his celebrations prematurely as he received a one minute penalty for jubilantly throwing his stick in the air. Despite going a player down, Australia's defence rallied to hustle a vital turn-over from the Iroquois team who were fighting the clock as well as a crowd who had reached fever pitch. This sealed the match for the Australians, although supporters were given a few palpitations with the go-slow tactics being employed almost coming unstuck in a tense final minute.