By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/18/09
BALTIMORE – They say there is only one acceptable outcome when the U.S. Men’s Under-19 team plays at the international level.
Saturday at the US Lacrosse National Convention here at the Convention Center, three Philly team members and a local coach got the chance to bask in the accomplishment of yet another International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) World Championship.
Ohio State junior Jimmy Green(Central Bucks East), Johns Hopkins sophomore Matt Dolente (Malvern Prep) and Penn State freshman Matt Mackrides (Malvern Prep) were joined by Team USA assistant coach John Nostrant (Haverford School) in receiving their rings at a special ceremony to honor the title they won last summer in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
The US squad won all seven of its games, winning the crown with a 19-12 conquest of Canada. Team USA kept its streak of championships (six) going while extending its ILF overall record to a perfect 36-0.
Along the way, there were bumps. One occurred in the pool play when ever-improving Canada seized a 14-7 lead heading into the final period. But the US tied it in regulation and Green won it with a goal in the final minute of overtime.
All three Philly players played significant roles in the effort. Dolente, a co-captain, was named to the All-World Team at midfield and was also named Most Outstanding Midfielder as he won 65 percent of his face-offs. Mackrides, meanwhile, had 14 goals in pool play and Green added eight.
“It was really great experience to play at an international level,” said Dolente. “It was awesome to wear theUSA jersey and something I will never forget.
“It’s a really rare experience a lot of people don’t get to have and I feel really fortunate to get that opportunity, and to cash in on it by winning.”
Green concurred: “It was once-in-a-lifetime experience unless, obviously, if I make the men’s national team. But you see a lot of these guys around in college and to get to meet them and play with them is a great experience.”
The experience helped the three Philly players transition to college lacrosse. Dolente, the No. 1 face-off man for the NCAA runner-up Blue Jays as a freshman, will be counted on heavily this year as the No. 1 guy. Green, a key middie for the Buckeyes, is a preseason all-conference pick who scored 22 goals as a sophomore.
Mackrides, meanwhile, was coming off a standout senior year at Malvern Prep where he earned All-American honors and led the Friars to the Inter-Ac league championship and a spot in the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association finals. For him, the experience was a boost for many reasons.
“It’s the best experience I ever had in my life, playing with the guys who are going to be the best players in college lacrosse,” said the attackman, one of the few high school seniors on the team.
“The speed of the game is much quicker; it definitely helped me adjust for Fall Ball. I had to raise my level; these guys made it easier, though, to do that. They helped me get to the next level.”
Nostrant was one of three assistants to head coach Chuck Apel (Bridgewater-Rariton, N.J. head coach). He saw the US team grow into a cohesive unit during the preseason and especially in a weekend getaway in Seattle just before the tournament in early July.
“They were great kids – great men – but it took us a while (to play together). It didn’t happen overnight, it was a challenge,” he said. “Going to Seattle was great, spending three or four days there together. When we went toCanada, everything came together.”