Mission accomplished! After a turbulent start during round robin play, our team really came together to accomplish the goals we put in place over a year ago when we tried out for the U.S. under-19 men's national team.
Entering the tournament, nobody had a bigger target written on his back than Team USA coach Tim Flynn. Besides Team Canada and Team Iroquois — which were hoping to finally wrestle the goldold medal from Team USA — Flynn also faced a host of critics who questioned everything from the team’s composition to its tactics.
After all the individual awards and medals were handed out, finally the public address announcer at the center of the field asked for the U.S. under-19 men's national team captains to approach and take the trophy that signaled their 2012 FIL U19 World Championship game win.
Except the three captains didn't go. The entire 23-player roster did.
With video interviews, All-World Team, Most Outstanding Player Awards, box score
Connor Buczek and the United States under-19 men's national team have advanced to the finals of the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships, held this week in Turku, Finland, where they will face-off in a rematch with Canada. The Big Red attackman will see a pair of familiar faces on the opposing sideline as Cornell teammate Dan Lintner and future Big Red player Brennan Donville are suiting up for Canada.
Our reporter and West Coast Editor Valerie Taliman has been filing stories from Finland while our videographer, Gwendolen Cates, has been sending us videos of the team talking about bringing the Creator’s game to the world, with highlights from the games themselves as well. Here now are some highlights from the historic win over Team USA.
The U.S. road a wave of emotion, five goals from Steven Pontrello and all-out effort on faceoffs and ground balls to down the Iroquois, just two days after losing to them in pool play. The win sets up another rematch with a team that has already beaten the U.S. here: Canada, in the championship game at 4 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday.
For about two hours on Tuesday night, the members of the U.S. under-19 men's national team held a players-only meeting in the dorm complex they are sharing with the homestanding Finns and teams from Australia and England during the FIL U19 World Championships.
In what was the U.S. under-19 men's national team's final tune-up before the challenge that lies ahead for a gold medal – a rematch Thursday against the Iroquois in the semifinals and a potential rematch with Canada in the title game – Team USA breezed past Germany 22-2 on Wednesday in a quarterfinal game at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships.
Indian Country Today Media Network's videographer, Gwendolyn Cates, filed this video story from Turku, in which coaches and players talked about what it's like to play for their Nation on the global stage.
Quinn Powless, Seth Oakes and Ky Tarbell, all of whom will play at OCC next season, each had a goal for the Iroquois. Lyle Thompson, the former LaFayette High school star from Onondaga had a goal and a key possession in which he drew two penalties with a minute left in the game.
The number of registered lacrosse players in the USA stands at close to 265,000, which is roughly four times the size of the entire population of the Iroquois nation. Although by far the smallest nation at the U19 World Lacrosse Championships, it is by far the most popular. This is not simply because they come from a small country, or that it took the players 37 hours to get to Finland or because they have the most amazing stick skills of any team in the tournament. No, it’s because when they are “on,” no team or nation can showcase the sport of lacrosse like the Iroquois can.
England again started the quarter goal behind before England’s Jake Weddell stepped up to tie-up the game once more with a back door sneak. With the game in stalemate most the way through the final quarter with both teams having their fair share of transition and extra-man opportunities but nether team could convert them in to points.
"It's pretty amazing," Iroquois coach Freeman "Boss" Bucktooth said. "The guys came out to play and showed what they could do. ... We've got a lot of talent on the team and a great coaching staff. We put everything together. We'll walk away with a win [over] the USA team at any time."
Iroquois Goals: Bomberry 4, Staats 3, Delisle3, Oakes, Q. Powless, L. Thompson, J. Powless, K. Tarbell.
Event photographer Robin Stitzing has been passing along great shots from the event, and we culled through all the action to give the best photos of the first half of the tournament. These photos go through Sunday's action.
The game featured four ties early in the contest, but two runs by the Iroquois put the game out of reach. Rochester Knighthawks forward Johnny Powless scored once to give him five goals in three tournament games. His high to high goal tied the contest at three at 24:38 of the second.
There is a small hole in the World U19 Lacrosse Tournament, and that hole is in the shape of Tiio Adams. Team Canada co-captain Derek Searle described him as arguably the best LSM he ever played with and also the funniest. Canadian goalie Brennan Donville described Tiio as “simply the best”. Donville and Searle were supposed to enter Cornell together this September with Adams.
Adams almost certainly would have been a starter for Team Iroquois in Sunday's game with friends too many to count playing on both sides of center. Adams died last January, but Team Iroquois goalie and cousin Trey Adams says with a lump in his throat: “We all know that Tiio’s here with us today”.
About the only problem the U.S. under-19 men's national team had Sunday was that starting attackman Matt Kavanagh left his cleats on the bus on the way to the game. Fortunately, that same bus later picked up the English national team, and who scooped up the footwear under the seat? English starting goalie Mike Connor, who handed the kicks to Kavanagh, but then had to deal with him and the rest of Team USA's offense.
Chad Tutton stood in his all red warmup suit and prepared to answer a few questions. "My heart is still pounding," he said. It was about 25 minutes after Canada downed the U.S. under-19 men's national team 11-9 in overtime in a back-and-forth, thrilling and history-making pool play game Saturday night at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships in Finland.
Tutton, a rising sophomore midfielder for North Carolina, tallied what held up as the game-winner with 2:01 left in the second of two mandatory four-minute overtime periods, per international rules. But that was just the cap on a game that's direction twisted and turned on every faceoff and left an overflow crowd of an estimated 1,200 spectators buzzing.
So what has changed in 2012? For Canada, the most obvious differences between 2008 and 2012 are tw-ofold. First, the last Team Canada featured only a small number of players who had played extensively in the United States at either the prep school or the NCAA level. Fast forward to the 2012 edition and we see Team Canada stocked with players such as Wes Berg (Denver), Chad Tutton (North Carolina), Reilly O’Connor (Georgetown), Turner Evans (Ohio State), Dan McDermott (NYIT) and Jesse King (Ohio State), who have a full season of NCAA experience under their belt. The balance of the team is fully committed to NCAA Division I and II programs; this is not a box lacrosse team playing on grass.
In a stunning opening game, the Iroquois Nationals soundly beat Team England 24-2 in their first game of competition at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Turku, Finland on July 13.
As the Nationals walked into the arena for their first game tonight, there was thunderous applause and cheering from the crowd. Many lacrosse fans remember that the Nationals were not allowed to play for gold in 2010 due to passport issues, and were delighted to see the team back playing in this international tournament against the teams from around the world.
Given the small number of local players involved in the game of lacrosse, it is surprising that the Turku stadium is nearly full as we approach the start of the England vs. Iroquois game. Iroquois is favored but England typically provides the leading lacrosse nations with great competition. On this day, Iroquois dominates right from the beginning and leads 2-0 with less than a minute played. Ky Tarbell and Seth Oakes dominate the early scoring and then Lyle Thompson, Quinn Powless and Hank Delisle get in on the scoring.
The U.S. under-19 men's national team started off slow, but didn't take long to build a comfortable lead in its first game at the 2012 FIL U19 World Championships, beating Australia 24-6 on a sunny Friday evening in southeast Finland.
Rob Zoppo said it himself: "This is a lot to write. It's a lot to say. It's been a different road." The U.S. under-19 men's national team's relatively unknown tri-captain wasn't a headline high school recruit like many of the other 22 players on Team USA. He didn't load up the stat sheet with goals and assists at Calvert Hall (Md.). He didn't commit to Towson University until the August before his high school senior year.
In the center of a tree-filled park in Finland's oldest city, players, staff members, families and fans representing 12 countries filled a 1,000-seat stadium complex to officially open the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse Under-19 World Championships on Thursday evening.
Rising sophomore Connor Buczek continues his stint with the United States Men's National Under-19 Team as it begins competing for the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in Turku, Finland.
Rising Syracuse University sophomore Ralph D'Agostino and the United States U-19 Men's Lacrosse Team begins play at the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) U-19 World Championship on Friday, July 13 in Turku, Finland.
They’ve been finalists four times, so Canada is looking to win its first U-19 gold medal by fielding an NCAA-heavy roster — 21 of 24 roster members played or will play college ball. As opposed to past years, the players on Canada's squad are more established in the field game than they are in box.
Adam Eakins is a midfielder on the U19 German National Team that will compete at the 2012 FIL U19 World Lacrosse Championships in Turku, Finland. Hailing from Hamburg, Adam continues the ongoing blog series detailing the German team's preparations for the international tourney.
It's time for a tour. Not of the country of Finland, or this city just yet. The players haven't experienced it thus far. But of a building called Petrea, the homebase of the U.S. under-19 men's national team for the two weeks of the FIL U19 World Championships.
It's located in Turku, a short drive from the field where the U.S. will play its games, and just outside the city's main square area.
The U.S. under-19 men's national team, which includes its 23 players, coaching, training, equipment and managerial staffs, has arrived in Finland, which means I have as well. It took a roughly eight-hour flight from New York City's John F. Kennedy airport to Helsinki, Finland (thanks in-flight entertainment "21 Jump Street" for killing some time), then a two-hour drive west to the country's fifth largest city of Turku, where the FIL U19 World Championships will be contested beginning Thursday.
When they board the plane leaving for Finland on Monday, July 9, you get the sense that the United States under-19 National lacrosse team is doing it for more than just themselves and their teammates. You get the sense that they’re doing it for more than every great American player that once donned the same uniform that they’ll wear with the USA etched across the front.
With just a few hours left before the U.S. under-19 men's national team takes off from New York for Finland, it's time to take a big picture look at what may transpire July 12-21 in Turku at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championships. Here are five things I'll be watching. (This is a spinoff of "Working off the Weekend: Five Things to Know" for you dedicated fans out there.)
The United States has dominated the U-19 Tournament, winning all six since the inaugural event in 1988. This year’s team is once again stacked with tremendous NCAA and high school talent.
U-19 Team USA Roster
The Iroquois Nationals Under-19 team members, some of them as young as 16, will travel to the city of Turku, Finland, in early in July to play in the international lacrosse championships, which will take place from July 12-21.
"The combination of talent and athleticism we have is pretty rare. It's a great chance for us to really make a breakthrough with this team." Powless said that the Nationals have a great opportunity to win gold for the first time.
"I'm pretty pumped. I can't wait," said Randy Staats (OCC), who is the leading scorer with the Six Nations Arrows .
. . . the USA U-19 men’s team has never lost a game… EVER. Over the course of the past six international U-19 tournaments, the boys in the stars and stripes have not only won every championship, but they have also won every single game they have ever played.