U.S. U19 Men Beat Germany, Set Up Iroquois Rematch
TURKU, Finland - In what was the U.S. under-19 men's national team's final tune-up before the challenge that lies ahead for a gold medal – a rematch Thursday against the Iroquois in the semifinals and a potential rematch with Canada in the title game – Team USA breezed past Germany 22-2 on Wednesday in a quarterfinal game at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships.
Matt Kavanagh tallied four goals and two assists while Connor Buczek also had four goals and Kyle Keenan had two goals and three assists. U.S. goalie Kyle Turri started the game in net, making one save. Zach Oliveri played the second half as the U.S. defense was not largely tested.
The U.S. (3-2) advances to play the second-seeded Iroquois (3-1) in the semifinal round at 8 p.m. (1 p.m. EST) on Thursday in Finland. The Iroquois beat the U.S. 15-13 on Tuesday in both teams' final pool play game. It was the first time an Iroquois Nationals team defeated the U.S. in international field competition.
"After yesterday, with a heartbreak like that in a game where we really thought if we did a few things better we could have won, coming out here today was good," U.S. midfielder Mike Tagliaferri said. "Just to clear your mind a little bit, clear the air, fresh start. We got three more games. We knocked one down, so two to go."
On Tuesday night, several hours after that loss – the first ever for a U.S. team to the Iroquois in international field competition – the U.S. team held a players' only meeting for about two hours, discussing what happened and plans for rebounding in the medal rounds.
What appeared on the field Wednesday was a result of that meeting. The U.S. led 9-1 at halftime before scoring nine third-quarter goals.
"Today, even though we didn't pull the rip cord really early, what's not apparent to the spectator is that we actually practiced a lot for [Thursday]," defenseman and co-captain Stephen Jahelka said. "It worked well on offense today once we started being less selfish with the ball. We're definitely excited for tomorrow."
Midfielder Ryan Tucker did not play against Germany as a precautionary measure after suffering a shoulder injury in the loss to the Iroquois. He stood on the sideline with his arm in a sling, but is expected to play Thursday night in the rematch.
Joey Leonard added two goals and two assists while Danny Eipp and Matt Florence notched hat tricks against the Germans. Charlie Raffa also scored twice. Germany goaltender Linus Dörr made 13 saves before being lifted in the third quarter.
Top-seeded Canada (4-0) faces England, a 17-8 winner over the Czech Republic on Wednesday, in Thursday's first semifinal at 5 p.m. in Finland. The championship game will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday. The U.S. has won all six gold medals contested since sanctioned U19 international competition began in 1988.
Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships
USA 5 4 9 4 - 22
GER 1 0 1 0 – 2
Goals: USA – Buczek 4, Kavanagh 4, Eipp
3, Florence 3, Keenan 2, Leonard 2, Raffa 2, Danseglio 1, Mahon 1;
GER - Wennemann 2
Assists: USA – Keenan 3, Kavanagh 2, Leonard 2, D'Agostino 1, Jahelka 1, Zoppo 1
Saves: USA - Turri 1; GER – Eakins 13, Dörr 1
Check back to LaxMagazine.com for a semifinals preview, and follow LaxMagazine.com/teamusa/u19men and LaxMagazine.com editor Corey McLaughlin on Twitter @Corey_McL for updates throughout the FIL U19 World Championships.