NETANYA, Israel — With the Iroquois Nationals, it’s never just about lacrosse.
The Native American team, comprised of players who hail from the six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, arrived at its hotel in Netanya, Israel, just six hours before its Federation of International Lacrosse Men’s World Championship opener Thursday against the mighty U.S.
Originally scheduled to fly out of Toronto on Monday night, the Iroquois were turned away when they attempted to travel on their Haudenosaunee passports — an issue that forced them to withdraw from this event in 2010 when it was held in Manchester, England.
Despite the delays, the Iroquois stunned the U.S. briefly, scoring the first three goals and taking a 7-5 lead at halftime before fading in a 17-9 loss.
“They have a lot to play for every time they step on the field,” said U.S. attackman Rob Pannell, who led the charge with three goals and four assists. “Off the plane, they came out here and wanted to prove they have as much to play for as anyone. They’re blue collar, they grind it out, they’re hardnosed and they fight.”