TURKU, Finland – Facing off against Team USA, the Iroquois Nationals came out strong with 3 goals in the first few minutes of the semi-final game, playing to a packed house at the 2012 U19 World Lacrosse Championships on July 19.
Both teams were hungry for gold and played a brutally physical game filled with numerous penalties for illegal body checks, slashing, unsportsman-like conduct, and injuries.
By the half, Team USA had tied the game 5-5.
Coming back strong in the third quarter, Team USA took the lead 10-7 over the Nationals through a series of quick plays that netted them 3 unanswered goals.
In the fourth quarter, despite a series of stellar saves by Iroquois goalie Chris George, Team USA scored repeatedly while the Nationals missed several key shots.
“They were strong competition and it was a tough loss,” said Iroquois head coach Boss Freeman.
“We couldn’t win any draws or pick up the ball in the last half. They were strong on ground balls and face-off. You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.”
Freeman said the team had their shots, but just couldn’t put the ball in the net. “Our sticks were off. They were a tough competitor and today was just not our day.”
The Nationals have been playing one-man short since the tournament began after a player in their starting line-up was injured in practice the first day. The team roster had been submitted that morning and tournament rules do not allow for substitutions.
The loss means the Nationals will now play England for the bronze, while Team USA plays undefeated Canada for the gold on Saturday, July 21.
Asked what he expected in the Nationals’ next game against England, Freeman said they plan to do their best.
“We’ve just got to put on our shoes and come to work,” he said.
The Iroquois Nationals play England on July 21 for the bronze medal.