Members of Team Israel wrapped their arms around their teammates next to them. Their national anthem, “Hatikvah” — which means “the hope” — was sung inside the Carrier Dome as Israeli players prepared for the chance to unseat the United States.
In the first three World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, the medal winners were the same each time — the Canadians, the Iroquois and the Americans finished in that order. And after the first medal-round game, Team USA kept possession of the bronze medal with a 15-4 win over Israel on Sunday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.
Less than a minute into the game, the U.S. already made progress in the final leg of its quest to return to the medal stand with a goal by Marcus Holman.
But after the U.S. took a 3-0 to start the game, the hope for the Israelis seemed to dwindle. A temporary resurgence came when Kyle Bergman put Israel on the board to cut the lead to two, but short-handed responses from Kevin Buchanan and Holman pushed the Americans’ lead to 5-1 by the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the U.S. made a push to extend its lead, but Israel goalie Zachary Higgins made two key saves — first on a diving Garrett Thul from point blank and second on a rocket from Greg Downing from 10 yards out.
Still, it wasn’t enough as Israel’s offense couldn’t get going. A second-quarter goal by Bergman made it 5-2, but then the Americans scored four straight heading into halftime.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first as the U.S. had already built a substantial lead. Team USA captain Kevin Buchanan finished with five goals and five assists while Joe Walters had one goal and six assists and Casey Powell had a goal and five assists.
By Paul Schwedelson for LaxMagazine.com. Photo by Larry Palumbo.