Canada earned a gutsy 13-7 win over Australia to finish the preliminary round at the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Netanya, Israel. Canada (4-1) advances directly to the semi-finals, where they will play a yet to be determined opponent on July 19.
After playing their fifth game in as many days, including a late-night matchup against the Iroquois Nation yesterday, it was clear that fatigue had caught up to the Canadians.
While they got the result they wanted, it was hard work putting away a pesky Australian squad.
“It was a grind,” said head coach Randy Mearns. “We were trying to make sure we were in that semi-final spot, so we needed to get this win today. Australia is very talented and they battled us hard, but we were able to grind it out.”
Crowley led the way for the Canadians with four points, including one goals and three assists.
Ten different players found the back of the net along with Crowley, led by two goal performances from Curtis Dickson, Mark Matthews and Ben McIntosh. Wes Berg, Josh Byrne, Mark Cockerton, Tre Leclaire, Ian MacKay and Jeff Teat were the other goal scorers.
Canada finishing with a slight 32-29 edge in shots.
After exchanging goals in the early minutes of the game, Canada scored five unanswered, spanning the first and second quarters, to take a 6-2 lead. Australia would score three of the next four goals to close out the half and chipped away at the lead, which was down to 7-5.
Canada opened the second half with another offensive outburst, scoring four straight times to help build a comfortable 11-5 lead. The teams went back and forth in the final quarter, but the Aussies were unable to catch up.
“They came out hot today,” said attack Kevin Crowley. “With us playing last night and getting home late, and heat of the mid-day, we came out slow. We knew it could be a factor and we let it be a factor.”
“We turned it around in the second half, but we can’t come out like that in the first half,” he added. “We’ve got to be better moving forward.”
Australia’s leading scorer was Christopher Robertson with three goals, while Christopher Plumb, Nigel Morton, Isaac Cahill and Alex Brown added singles.
The Canadians will enjoy a day off tomorrow, allowing them to rest and recover after a grueling first week of competition.
Canada will play its semi-final game against on July 19 at 11:00am ET. They will take on the winner of a quarter-final game between the third place team in the Blue Division, likely the Iroquois Nation, and the winner of the Japan vs Puerto Rico play-in game.