International Men



 
June 17, 2014

FIL 2014 Preview: Orange Division Breakdown

by Brett Amadon | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Sweden has a long history in the game and finished well in 2010. Can they top their division in 2014? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

With plenty of attention on the Blue Division and favorites like Team USA and Canada, Brett Amadon will be breaking down the other divisions in the lead-up to the FIL World Championships, kicking off next month in Commerce City, Co. Catch all the action by picking up your tickets today!

Teams listed in alphabetical order. View the full schedule of the event here.

Israel

2010 Results: First-Time Competitor
Head Coach: Bill Beroza

Names Worth Knowing

G - Andrew Goldstein (Dartmouth)
D - Harrison Freid (Michigan/St. Johns)
A - Alec Alconi (Garin Tzabar)

Goldstein is a former two-time All-American at Dartmouth College and is also recognized as being the first American male team-sport professional athlete to be openly gay. Originally drafted by his hometown Boston Cannons, Goldstein played for the now New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse. Freid played four seasons at Michigan on its MCLA squad before playing his fifth year at St. Johns, earning a spot in the USILA North/South Game. Alconi saw time in the club circuit in Southern California (SCLAX) and, as a resident of Israel, is expecting Israeli Defense Forces in November.

Outlook

As one of nine first time countries competing in 2014, Israel will be looking to make a splash from the opening whistle. Headlined by a number of players hailing from the U.S. with high school and collegiate experience, Israel has the talent to surprise some teams much like the Israeli women's team did at the women's World Lacrosse Games in Oshawa 2013. It's also worth noting that Israel might make a point of not playing games on Saturday due to the Jewish Sabbath. This came into play for the women in 2013 when they opted to forfeit their medal round game against Haudenosaunee.

Republic of Korea

2010 Results: 3-4 overall (0-3 in group play), 25th place
Head Coach: Wonjae Park

Names Worth Knowing

M - Jin Ho Kim (Uncles)
M - Kyoungroh Lee (CLU Tigers)
A - Junyong Lee

Outlook

As one of the most experienced teams in the Orange Division, Korea is looking to showcase how much the sport of lacrosse has developed in its country. A first time participant in London, Ontario, in 2006, Korea finished 18th out of 21 teams in its maiden trip.

Four years later, in Manchester, England, the 2010 FIL World Championship saw the field expand to a then-record 29 teams. South Korea struggled at the start and finished 25th overall.

Paired in the same group as current division foe Slovakia, South Korea opened 2010 with a lopsided loss to division winner Ireland 21-3. Still, South Korea's defense improved over its next two games (allowing just 17 goals), but the offense couldn't find a rhythm. South Korea would finish group play winless and advanced to the bottom bracket in the knockout round. There, South Korea was able to grind out a win over Mexico before falling to Austria to land in the 25th-28th place bracket. With a convincing win over Argentina in its penultimate contest and a second-straight win over Denmark in the finals, Korea was able to finish the tournament with a little momentum.

Last year, the team took steps toward growing the sport, participating in the 2013 Asia Pacific Championships held in the Olympic Sports Centre, Beijing, China. The 6th annual ASPAC Games featured eight teams, including Australia and Japan's U23 squads. Overall, Korea finished in fifth place.

In its third appearance at an FIL World Championships, can the Republic of Korea move up from its 25th place finish in 2010? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

Slovakia

2010 Results: 5-2 overall (2-1 in group play), 17th place
Head Coach: Edward Kostolansky

Names Worth Knowing

G - Stanislav Mraz (Tricksters Lacrosse Team)
M - Martin Kramar (Tricksters Lacrosse Team)

Origin

Lacrosse was first introduced to Bratislava, Slovakia in 2003 when Mark and Thomas Lichtner formed the Tricksters. However, without government support or sponsors, there are currently only 30 lacrosse players in Slovakia. Still, in 2008, Slovakia competed in its first international lacrosse event at the European championships in Lahti, Finland. Since then, Slovakia has been present at many of the the lacrosse tournaments as they continue to develop, including the World indoor lacrosse championships (Prague 2011), EC (Amsterdam 2012) and the last World lacrosse championships (Manchester 2010) where they finished 17th out of 29 countries.

Outlook

Slovakia displayed a strong showing in Manchester, winning its first-ever game against Switzerland 10-6 before being dealt a lopsided loss to group champion Ireland. However, Slovakia was able to rebound and earn a one-goal victory over Korea to advance to the middle bracket of knockout play. A convincing win over Norway in the semifinals set up a final tilt with Poland, but scoring woes led to an 11-6 loss, thus moving into the 17th-20th place bracket. A win over Italy gave Slovakia the chance to finish the tournament on a high note, and they did just that, taking down Bermuda 12-7 to finish 17th overall.

Sweden

2010 Results: 4-3 overall (2-1 in group play), 10th place finish
Head Coach: Tobias Kindblom and Kim Langeborg

Names Worth Knowing

M - Dickson Smith III (University of Virginia)
A - Kevin Powers (Dominican University)
D – Peter Welff (Stockholm)

Smith is a highly touted recruit out of Massachusetts who is expected to develop and become a key LSM for the Cavaliers. He also played on the 2012 Swedish team that took home bronze from the European Championships. Powers was Smith's teammate on that 2012 European squad and also played with the team in 2010. In 2012, he was named the WILA Freshman of the Year and tied for 5th in Division II with 4 points per game. Welff is a returning member of the 2010 and 2012 teams.

Origin

Stockholm Lacrosse was the first Swedish lacrosse team as it was formed in 1988 and was divided into four new teams in the beginning of the 90's. Farsta lacrosse and Sundbyberg lacrosse still exists today. The first Swedish championships were played in 1992 and today, there are 11 teams playing in Sweden representing Lund in the south and Lulea in the north.

Outlook

One of the more tenured international sides in men's lacrosse, Sweden is currently ranked third in Europe (EC 2012) and 10th in the world after its performance in Manchester, England four years ago.

Finishing second in its group four years ago, Sweden had a pair of lopsided wins over Italy and Mexico (a combined 36-5 margin) but dropped a tight contest to the eventual group winner Czech Republic. Earning a spot in the upper bracket of knockout play, Sweden lost its second-straight contest to Ireland, but recovered and avenged its group play loss against the Czech's to advance to the 9th-12th place bracket. A win over Wales earned another rematch, this time with Ireland for 9th place, but the Irish were too strong, earning the win and forcing the Swedes to settle for 10th.

Most recently, Sweden won the Scandinavian Lacrosse Challenge in May, defeating Norway and Finland for the title.


comments powered by Disqus