As the days count down to the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships on home soil, Team Israel continued to build momentum toward its July 12 opener at Netanya Stadium by winning back-to-back Heritage Cups, notching a perfect 6-0 record at the third-annual Heritage Cup at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island last weekend.
The blue-and-white clinched the Cup win with a 6-2 win over a shorthanded Puerto Rican squad Monday morning. The newcomers to the international lacrosse federation were strong on the weekend despite short numbers, competing with only a handful of substitutes due to NCAA conflicts and injuries. Israel jumped out to a 3-0 first-half lead before slowing down the game against tired Puerto Rico (5-1) side, cruising to victory.
Jean-Luc Chetner led Israel with two goals, while Bryan Rotatori (one goal, one assist), Nick Lipsher (one goal), Isaac Paparo and Ethan Shacket added singles. Kyle Bergman and Ian Kadish chipped in one assist each. David Metzger had two saves and Max Silberlicht had one as they split time in goal, with Metzger earning the win.
Israel qualified for the final by topping the Ireland, 7-4, in the semifinals Sunday afternoon. Team Eire, the Irish development squad which represented the country in the Cup, had a strong showing, owning 2-0 and 3-2 leads over the Israelis in the first half. The blue-and-white owned the game from there, scoring four straight goals to take a 6-3 advantage. Rotatori (three goals, two assists), Bergman (one goal, one assist), Lipsher (one goal), Chetner (one goal) and Matthew Cherry (one assist) contributed on offense for Israel. Metzger yielded three goals but also recorded three saves. Silberlicht gave up one goal and was credited the win.
The Israelis blanked federation newcomer Peru in the quarterfinals, 8-0 on Sunday morning. The blue-and-white won both the first and second halves by 4-0 scores over Peru (0-6). Rotatori (two goals and Cherry (one goal, one assist) led Israel, while Tyler Brown-Ortiz, Chetner, Kadish, Lipsher and Shacket added singles. Bergman, Harrison Freid, Paparo and Jacob Silberlicht each chipped in an assist. Metzger, who had one save, earned the win in the shutout, splitting goal time with Silberlicht.
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Earlier Sunday morning, Israel defeated Jamaica, another new addition to the federation, in a highly-anticipated partial preview of the July 12 opening match at Netanya Stadium. While both teams are in preparation mode, training and making final roster evaluations, the blue-and-white has to be happy with the 7-2 win to wrap up pool play over its speedy rival. Israel led 2-0 early and 5-1 at halftime, commanding most of the game over Jamaica (3-3). Rotatori and Chetner each scored two goals and one assist for Israel, while Cherry added one goal and one assist. Bergman (one goal), Jonah Biblowitz (one goal) and Jacob Silberlicht (one assist) also contributed on offense. Metzger (one save, one GA) earned the win this time, with Silberlicht (four saves, one GA) also taking goalie time.
Israel rolled past Lithuania (2-4) and Hungary (1-5) to open the Cup Friday. Against Hungary, Israel cruised to a 5-1 win as Rotatori led the Israelis with one goal and one assist, while Chetner, Cherry, Joey Kraft, Lipsher and Jacob Silberlicht added one goal apiece. Metzger (two saves, no GA) and Silberlicht (three saves, one GA) split time in goal, with Metzger earning the win.
The blue-and-white shook off a slow start against the upstart Lithuanian squad, scoring eight straight goals to cruise to an opening game win, 10-3. Bergman, Kraft and Jack Tucker each scored two goals, while Jacob Silberlicht (one goal, one assist) and Cherry (two assists) also had big openers. Chetner, Rotatori and Jake Suesserman added singles. Metzger (two saves, two GA), who earned the win, split time in goal with Silberlicht (two saves, one GA).