Barak Netanya and Haifa secured their spots in the inaugural championship game of lacrosse’s Israel Premier League, each winning in different fashion this week.
In Netanya, Barak Netanya needed the full 60 minutes to dispatch Ashkelon on Monday night in the semifinals at Shapira Field. On Tuesday, top-ranked Haifa dominated for three quarters and was able to run out the clock to top Tel Aviv, 8-5, in the other semifinal at Kiryat Gat Synthetic.
Ashkelon (2-5) led most of the way in Monday’s seesaw battle, before a late offensive burst by Netanya (5-2) put them up for good.
The score was tied, 7-7, after three quarters. But Netanya dominated the final frame to secure the win, punching its ticket to last night’s IPLL Championship Game. The win marked the third time this season that Netanya defeated Ashkelon.
Aaron Feinberg scored three goals and Jesse Parker four goals to lead Netanya’s offense, with Feinberg earning El Al Player of the Game honors. Matthew Greenberg racked up a season-high three goals and four assists.
Andrew Copeland stopped 10 shots in the win, improving to 3-0 in goal for Barak.
Mitch Goldberg led Ashkelon with four goals; Juri Elonen made eight saves in the loss.
Over in Kiryat Gat, Haifa (6-1) controlled most of the game, as goalkeeper Ted Bergman anchored a defense which held Tel Aviv to just one goal in the first 45 minutes.
Polish national Jan Rydzak (four goals) was named El Al Player of the Game, while Nate Archer (three goals) and Justin Diamond (one goal, one assist) also contributed on offense.
Haifa led 7-1 after three quarters before Tel Aviv’s late four-goal surge cut the deficit to 7-5. Matthew Flapan (two goals), Noah Knopf (two goals), Sacha Stout (one goal) and Eric Wolf (three assists) launched the furious comeback.
However, it was too little, too late, and Haifa was able to run out the clock to secure a berth in the inaugural IPLL championship game.
A meaningless late goal with seven seconds remaining made the final score 8-5.
Bergman (60:00, 17 saves, 5 GA) earned the win in goal; he has 91 saves on the season. Reuven Dressler (60:00, 17 saves, 8 GA) was dealt the loss.
The final and the consolation game were held Thursday night, after press time.
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