Lacrosse / Israel’s Dream Run Ended by Third-ranked Aussies

Blue and whites started strong, but Australia stormed back to secure narrow 9-8 victory.

AP

COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO – Australia’s Tom Vickery made three saves in the final minute to hold off Israel, 9-8, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships on Wednesday.

Advancing to the semis felt promising early on, as the blue-and-white took early 2-0 and 4-1 leads on the third-ranked Australians. However, the Sharks held Israel scoreless for the entire second quarter as they chipped away, trimming the deficit to 4-3 at the half.

Cody Levine’s goal 2:46 into the third quarter gave Israel a 5-3 advantage, but Australia (3-3) scored three straight goals to take a 6-5 lead, its first of the game.

Alex Brown’s marker for the Aussies with 3:26 remaining seemingly put the game out of reach, but Israel’s Matthew Cherry forced a late turnover and fed Ari Sussman to trim the deficit to 9-8.

Israel had an extra-man situation and got several quality shots as time ticked away, but Vickery stood tall, allowing the Australians to advance to the semifinals against the United States.

Marty Hyde scored two goals, while seven others added singles for a balanced Australia offensive. Vickery (62:12, 12 saves, 4 GA) earned the win in goal in relief of Warren Brown (17:48, 3 saves, 4 GA).

Sussman (three goals), Cody Levine (two goals), Cherry (one goal, one assist), Benjamin Smith (one goal), Kyle Bergman (one goal) and Lee Coppersmith (one assist) cracked Israel’s score sheet. Hank Altschuler (80:00, 3 saves, 9 GA) was dealt the loss.

Israel had enjoyed a brilliant run to the quarterfinals, capping it with a 15-1 shellacking of Germany. Hank Altschuler and the Israeli defense shut out 6th-ranked Germany for three quarters on Tuesday to secure the quarterfinal berth.

Israel had cruised through the group stage, shocking No. 10 Sweden 19-4 to open championship play, rolling past No. 17 Slovakia 17-2, and routing No. 25 South Korea 19-2. It then opened the playoff round by doubling up on No. 9 Ireland, 18-9, to set up the duel with Germany.

Israel (5-1) is guaranteed a top-eight world ranking, and will compete for the opportunity to be promoted to the premier Blue Division in the 2018 World Games. Israel was meeting fifth-ranked England (1-5) at 3:00 P.M. local time yesterday, in the decisive placement match.

Additional caps went to Richard Cheifitz, Casey Cittadino, Lee Coppersmith, Adam Crystal, Matthew Flapan, Harrison Freid, Michael Grosz, Seth Mahler, Mathew Markman, Cole McCormack, Jonathan Rathauser, Eytan Saperstein and Jacob Silberlicht.