Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/24/10
From US Lacrosse and Staff Reports
MANCHESTER, England – A four-year long rebuilding project by the U.S. men’s national team culminated Saturday in a 12-10 victory over Canada — the team that dethroned it in 2006 — in the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship final before 4,651 fans at the University of Manchester.
“We dreamed of this. This was our destiny,” said Team USA head coach Mike Pressler. “The script was written. We just had to go out there and prove it.”
One of the stars for Team USA was goaltender Brian Dougherty, the Episcopal Academy graduate and Penn assistant coach who was the grizzled veteran on the team. “Doc” made 15 saves, and a key one when his team was down one at the end.
“Words can’t really express how I feel right now,” said Dougherty during a phone press conference arranged by US Lacrosse after the game. “I was telling people last night and today that I was closing my eyes and visualizing how this would feel, and it’s not even close to what it actually feels like.
“This is the greatest feeling I have ever had, with these guys and these coaches. It’s unbelievable.”
“It feels great,” added US co-captain and midfielder Kevin Cassese (Lehigh head coach). “I am sitting her with my uniform on and my gold medal around my neck and I don’t want this to end.
“I don’t feel like leaving the locker and I just feel great for the other 23 guys and the coaching staff. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work that paid off when it mattered the most.”
Team USA’s seventh world title did not come easy. The U.S. seized an 8-4 halftime lead with four unanswered goals in the second quarter. But Canada stormed back, blanking Team USA in the third quarter to tie it at 8. It set up another epic U.S.-Canada, fourth quarter showdown.
Zack Greer gave Canada its first lead of the game after getting topside on U.S. defenseman DJ Driscoll (Malvern Prep), faking and beating Dougherty on the doorstep to put the Canadians ahead 9-8 with just under 17 minutes remaining.
Dougherty came up huge with two saves – including a lunging kick save off his left knee on Kevin Crowley – on a man-down possession to keep Team USA within a goal.
Team USA attackman Brendan Mundorf rewarded him by scoring off a quick flip from Ryan Powell with a low, right-handed release – tying the game at 9 with about 12 minutes remaining.
John Grant Jr. answered for Canada, posting up U.S. defenseman Shawn Nadelen, getting topside, rolling back outside and dunking a goal on Dougherty to put the Canadians ahead 10-9 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
That’s when Ned Crotty, not much of a factor for Team USA in the early rounds, got untracked. The team’s youngest player and 2010 Tewaaraton Trophy winner with Duke, Crotty tied it at 10 on a low-to-high riser off a Mike Leveille feed with 8:24 left.
Less than three minutes later, Crotty scored the go-ahead goal on a phenomenal bounce shot as he fell to the ground. The ball flung off the turf and found a space under the crossbar and above the stick of Canadian goalie Chris Sanderson (former Philadelphia Wings assistant coach).
Canada turned the ball over with about four minutes remaining and Team USA possessed the ball the rest of the way. Sanderson kept it at a goal by taking a Leveille shot off the lid of his helmet. The U.S. corralled the rebound and called timeout with 2:30 left.
Despite pulling Sanderson from the game and doubling the ball with an extra field player, Canada could not regain possession, committing a number of fouls and chasing the likes of Team USA’s Matt Zash and Max Seibald (Wings).
After a series of penalties, Leveille scored on an empty net with 1:19 left to seal the victory. Canada could not create the turnover it needed. The game ended with the ball in the stick of Ryan Boyle, a three-time Team USA member, in the corner.
Midfielder Paul Rabil finished with three goals and was named the MVP of the 2010 FIL World Championships. Leveille added three goals. Mundorf and Crotty scored two apiece.
Grant led Canada with three goals and an assist. Greer added two goals.
Dougherty finished with 15 saves, his highest total of the tournament, for Team USA. Sanderson made 10 saves in the loss.
Joining Rabil on the All-World team were Leveille, Seibald, Mundorf and defensemen Ryan McClay and Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco/Wings).
FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – GOLD MEDAL GAME
USA – 3 – 5 – 0 – 4… 12
CAN – 2 – 2 – 4 – 2… 10
Goals: USA – Rabil 3, Leveille 3, Crotty 2, Mundorf 2, Powell, Striebel; CAN – Grant 3, Greer 2, Billings, Crowley, Huntley, Steenhuis, Williams.
Assists: USA – Crotty, Mundorf, Powell; CAN – Duch, Grant, Huntley, Small.
Saves: USA – Dougherty 15; CAN – Sanderson 10.
Faceoffs: USA – Smith 11-of-22, Peyser 0-of-1; CAN – Snider 12-of-22.
2010 All-World Team
Most Valuable Player: Paul Rabil, United States
Top Goalie: Chris Sanderson, Canada
Top Defender: Brodie Merrill, Canada
Top Midfielder: Paul Rabil, United States
Top Attackman: John Grant Jr, Canada
A – Brendan Mundorf, USA
A – John Grant Jr, Canada
A – Mike Leveille, USA
M – Paul Rabil, USA
M – Max Seibald, USA
M – Leigh Perham, Australia
D – Brodie Merrill, Canada
D – Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco), USA
D – Ryan McClay, USA
G – Chris Sanderson, Canada