July 24, 2010

Golden Boys: Team USA World Champs Again

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Game Blog

U.S. team co-captain Kevin Cassese waves the American flag in triumph after Team USA's 12-10 win over Canada in the FIL World Championship final Saturday.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

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MANCHESTER, England -- A four-year long rebuilding project by the U.S. men’s national team culminated Saturday in a 12-10 victory over Canada -- the team that dethroned it in 2006 -- in the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship final before 4,651 fans at the University of Manchester.

“We dreamed of this. This was our destiny,” said Team USA head coach Mike Pressler. “The script was written. We just had to go out there and prove it.”

Team USA’s seventh world title did not come easy. The U.S. seized an 8-4 halftime lead with four unanswered goals in the second quarter. But Canada stormed back, blanking Team USA in the third quarter to tie it at 8. It set up another epic U.S.-Canada, fourth quarter showdown.

Zack Greer gave Canada its first lead of the game after getting topside on U.S. defenseman DJ Driscoll, faking and beating Team USA goalie Brian Dougherty on the doorstep to put the Canadians ahead 9-8 with 17 minutes remaining.

Dougherty came up huge with two saves -- including a lunging kick save off his left knee on Kevin Crowley -- on a man-down possession to keep Team USA within a goal.

Team USA attackman Brendan Mundorf rewarded him by scoring off a quick flip from Ryan Powell with a low, right-handed release – tying the game at 9 with 12:18 remaining.

John Grant Jr. answered for Canada, posting up U.S. defenseman Shawn Nadelen, getting topside, rolling back outside and dunking a goal on Dougherty to put the Canadians ahead 10-9 with 9:56 left.

That’s when Ned Crotty, not much of a factor for Team USA in the early rounds, got untracked. The team’s youngest player and 2010 Tewaaraton Trophy winner with Duke, Crotty tied it at 10 on a low-to-high riser off a Mike Leveille feed with 8:50 left.

Less than three minutes later, Crotty scored the go-ahead goal on a phenomenal bounce shot as he fell to the ground. The ball flung off the turf and found a space under the crossbar and above the stick of Canadian goalie Chris Sanderson.

Canada turned the ball over with about four minutes remaining and Team USA possessed the ball the rest of the way. Sanderson kept it at a goal by taking a Leveille shot off the lid of his helmet. The U.S. corralled the rebound and called timeout with 2:30 left.
Despite pulling Sanderson from the game and doubling the ball with an extra field player, Canada could not regain possession, committing a number of fouls and chasing the likes of Team USA’s Matt Zash and Max Seibald.

After a series of penalties, Leveille scored on an empty net with 1:16 left to seal the victory. Canada could not create the turnover it needed. The game ended with the ball in the stick of Ryan Boyle, a three-time Team USA member, in the corner.

Midfielder Paul Rabil finished with three goals and was named the MVP of the 2010 FIL World Championships. Leveille added three goals. Mundorf and Crotty scored two apiece.

Grant led Canada with three goals and an assist. Greer added two goals.

Dougherty finished with 15 saves, his highest total of the tournament, for Team USA. Sanderson made 10 saves in the loss.

 


FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – GOLD MEDAL GAME

Team USA 12, Canada 10
USA – 3 – 5 – 0 – 4… 12
CAN – 2 – 2 – 4 – 2… 10

Goals: USA – Rabil 3, Leveille 3, Crotty 2, Mundorf 2, Powell, Striebel; CAN – Grant 3, Greer 2, Billings, Crowley, Huntley, Steenhuis, Williams.

Assists: USA – Crotty, Mundorf, Powell; CAN – Duch, Grant, Huntley, Small.

Saves: USA – Dougherty 15; CAN – Sanderson 10.

Faceoffs: USA – Smith 11-of-22, Peyser 0-of-1; CAN – Snider 12-of-22.

FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - BRONZE MEDAL GAME

Australia 16, Japan 9
Australia avenged an earlier loss from Japan and rebounded from a rough round robin to claim the bronze medal with a 16-9 win over the Japanese. Midfielder Leigh Perham led the way with five goals, and was the only non-U.S. or Canadian player named to the All-World team. Japan's fourth-place finish is its highest ever.

FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - 5TH/6TH PLACE GAME

England 14, Germany 9
Host England, bumped from the medal round due to a head-to-head goal differential, saved face with a 14-9 win over Germany to finish in fifth place. Lewis Ratcliff scored three goals and dished an assist in the win.

FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ALL-WORLD TEAM

A John Grant Jr., CAN (Top Attackman)
A Brendan Mundorf, USA
A Mike Leveille, USA
M Paul Rabil, USA (Top Midfielder, MVP)
M Max Seibald, USA
M Leigh Perham, AUS
D Brodie Merrill, CAN (Top Defenseman)
D Ryan McClay, USA
D Kyle Sweeney, USA
G Chris Sanderson, CAN (Top Goalkeeper)


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