Lacrosse / No. 7 Japan Edges Israel in Overtime Thriller, 12-11

Things seemed to be going Israel's way in the first half, but Japan commanded possession in the second half to take control of the game.

OSHAWA, Canada – No. 7 Japan edged the playoff-bound Israel women's national lacrosse team 12-11 in an overtime thriller at Oshawa Civic Recreation Complex on Tuesday.

Japan won the opening draw of the sudden-victory extra period, and Rie Mito scored the game-winning goal at 1:59 to secure the victory.

With the victory, Japan (5-0) earned the sixth seed in the playoffs; it will play 11th-seeded Scotland in Wednesday's first round. Japan and the USA (4-0) are the only remaining undefeated teams in the 2013 FIL Women's World Cup.

Israel (4-1) is seeded 10th; the blue-and-white will meet seventh-seeded New Zealand (4-1) on Wednesday at 3 P.M. The winner plays Canada in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Japan battled back from an 8-3 halftime deficit to force overtime in the blistering heat. A six-goal run gave the Japanese a 9-8 lead, and the teams traded goals as the clock ticked down.

Kim Dubansky (four goals) led Israel, while Lauren Dykstra (two goals), Sarah Meisenberg (one goal, one assist), Ali Curwin (one goal), Jenna Block (one goal), Amanda Schwab (one goal and Sam Ellis (one goal) chipped in on offense.

Things seemed to be going Israel's way in the first half, as Ellis burst through Japan's defense to kickstart a seven-goal run, turning a 3-1 deficit into an 8-3 lead. Dubansky scored moments later off a ground ball, catching the Japanese defense out of position, before Dykstra and Curwin scores forced Japan to change goaltenders.

Israel's eighth goal came with 19 seconds remaining in the half; Amanda Schwab corralled a rebound from a teammate's shot and buried the ball into the back of the net.

Japan commanded possession in the second half to take control of the game. Yuko Kobori (three goals, one assist), Mai Kemmochi (two goals, one assist), Akiko Wada (two goals, one assist), Saori Hieda (one goal, three assists), Nanae Iizuka (one goal, two assists), Hikari Takano (one goal), Ryoko Ikura (one goal) and Mito (one goal) contributed on offense. Mayo Tomita (8:11, 0 saves, 5 GA) and Hikari Watanabe (53:48, 4 saves, 10 GA) split time in goal. Watanabe was credited the win.

Julia Szafman (61:59, 4 saves, 12 GA) was credited the loss in goal for Israel.

Donna Pedersen