With the lacrosse world watching, Hong Kong put on a show with a 20-1 walk over Luxembourg in the opening game of the 2018 World Championships in Netanya on Wednesday night.
With 46 countries saturating the competition, one game had to be played the night before the chaos began Thursday with the official opening ceremony. All attention turned to Hong Kong and World Championships-newcomers Luxembourg under the lights in the first showdown in the Olive Division.
In the match-up’s opening minutes, Luxembourg started the tournament’s scoring by tabbing its first-ever World Championships goal via Max Rubin’s stick. But once Hong Kong found its footing about 10 minutes into the first quarter, the levees collapsed, and the flood of goals started pouring. After Luxembourg scored first, Hong Kong tallied 20 unanswered goals in its largest margin of victory at a World Championships.
Expectations were high coming into the tournament for a Hong Kong team that has come a long way since finishing dead last at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Championships. Luxembourg’s program size and inexperience made the Hong Kong side a strong favorite before face-off.
Four years ago in Denver, Poland handled Hong Kong 14-4. In 2018, both teams are expected to be the upper crust in the Olive Division, and this win gives Hong Kong momentum heading into the rematch.
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Despite the score, there were some bright spots for Luxembourg. Ten months ago, the team didn’t know if it would be able to come to the World Championships, so being on the field and getting international playing experience is a victory in itself.
Goalie Nick Beattie took full advantage of the opportunity, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd with some acrobatics in front of the net. He turned away 11 shots, with a couple highlight-reel saves in the second quarter, including a miracle save from his knees with the stick.
Despite the final tally, the team is still happy with its performance, Beattie said. Luxembourg knew it would take some lumps. The process is more important than the results at these World Championships.
This article originally was published on Lax All Stars on Thursday.