July 12, 2014
Australia's Callum Robinson takes down Max Seibald in early action Saturday night. The teams combined for 16 penalties. (Scott McCall)
Australia's Callum Robinson takes down Max Seibald in early action Saturday night. The teams combined for 16 penalties. (Scott McCall)

U.S. Beats Australia in 16-Penalty Slugfest

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For Australia, the sight of yellow flags flying into the twilight sky was exactly what they wanted to see Saturday. It started almost immediately, when goony-looking Callum Robinson nailed Team USA's Max Seibald with a late hit after Seibald scored and then baited Team USA's Brendan Mundorf into a shoving match less than two minutes into the game.

Robinson, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound defenseman whose shoulder-length hair reflects his alter ego as an avid surfer, and Mundorf both wound up in the penalty box. It set the tone for a 16-penalty slugfest, with the U.S. pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 16-7 victory.

"They gotta earn respect from us and we gotta earn respect from them. We don't want to give them too much, and we don't want to give them too little," said Robinson, a Wembley Lacrosse Club export who is one of the top defensemen in NCAA Division III at Stevenson. "We just tried to beat 'em up a little bit and run with 'em."

The strategy kept the game close. Matt Diver's second man-up goal with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter pulled Australia, which defeated Japan in double-overtime Friday, within five at 11-6.

"They gotta earn respect from us and we gotta earn respect from them. We don't want to give them too much, and we don't want to give them too little."
-Australia defender Callum Robinson, pictured serving a penalty for the hit above on Max Seibald.
(Scott McCall)

But Team USA, bolstered by a 17-for-23 combined faceoff performance by Chris Eck and Greg Gurenlian and an inspired effort on both ends of the field by Paul Rabil, finished the game on a 5-1 run that included Rabil scoring on a hidden-ball trick.

Rabil and Dave Lawson scored four goals apiece, Marcus Holman had three goals and an assist, and Rob Pannell added two goals and two assists.

"Teams want to be physical. Their defense checked hard and played hard. We were a little stagnant at times offensively," Holman said. "We stayed with it and got some good goals."

Team USA amassed nine minutes on nine penalties. Australia had seven penalties for 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

"You can't take a ton of penalties," Lawson said. "That's something we definitely need to improve on."

Team USA improved to 2-0 and moved into first place in the Blue Division. The U.S. will play Japan on Sunday. Australia fell to 1-1 and will meet England.

News and Notes

Robinson, who has Type I diabetes, sought out Eck after the game for advice on playing with the condition. "I was just picking his brain about what he does, see if he had anything to offer. He was good," Robinson said. "He shared everything he knew about nutrition and how he manages his diabetes..." The U.S. scored several goals in transition. Long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt had a goal and an assist... Goalie Drew Adams, the only player who did not see time in Team USA's win Thursday over Canada, started the game and went the distance, finishing with six saves... Holman and Lawson, former college rivals at North Carolina and Duke, respectively, were sparkplugs for the U.S. — Lawson as a second-line midfielder and Holman as a swingman. "He'll probably admit, and I'll admit that we didn't like each other in college," Holman said. "But we meet each other down the road and we've formed a good relationship. We have a good connection on man-up..." Short-stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns, whose hustle drew praise from coaches and teammates after the Canada game, absorbed a hit to the head while diving to the turf for a loose ball in the fourth quarter. He left the game and did not return.


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