Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/17/16
From Press Release
The road to the 2016 FIL World Under-19 Men’s Lacrosse Championship kicked off last weekend as the U.S. U-19 roster faced Canada’s U-19s at the Champion’s Challenge at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Saint Joseph’s men’s lacrosse head coach Taylor Wray, also the head coach of Canada’s U-19 squad, guided Team Canada to an exciting 14-13 overtime victory on Sunday afternoon.
“It was great weekend of lacrosse for our team,” said Wray. “Last training camp, back in November, was more of a pure evaluation, there wasn’t much contact between the coaching staff and the players, and they simply competed against one another.
“This time around, we really got to interact with the players and go through a couple of practice and teaching sessions. We told the guys that we wanted to get to know them and to let their personalities come out . . . This time around, I felt like we started to become more of a team. And really, that’s what makes this process so difficult, because we still have to make cuts, and there are going to be some great people and great players who don’t get to continue on with the team.”
Trailing 13-12 with 5.7 seconds remaining on the clock, Canada won the face-off and launched a last-second Hail Mary up the field, and Canada scored with 0.6 seconds to even the scoring before going on to win in overtime.
“It was an exciting game,” added Wray. “I’m not sure it was the most well-played game, but it certainly was exciting and it allowed both teams to get a taste for international competition. As is usually the case, you need a bit of luck to win close games, and we got our fare share with the buzzer-beater to force overtime.
“Overall, I think the weekend accomplished the goal of helping our staff get a better idea about the team we have and the selections we have to make. It is certainly not going to be easy to get this roster down the from 37 to 23.”
Sunday’s game served as an evaluation opportunity in preparation for another round of roster cuts. The 2016 FIL World Under-19 Men’s Lacrosse Championship is slated for July 7-16, 2016 in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Both Canada and United States are expected to announce their final rosters in the next few weeks.
The US team featured strong efforts from six Philly players, Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin), Drew Supinski (Haverford School/Johns Hopkins), Noah Lejman (Haverford School, Penn), Christian Feliziani (Episcopal Academy), Dox Aitken (Haverford School) and Grant Ament (Haverford School).
Previously, Wray had led the 2012 Canadian U-19 Men’s Field Team to the silver medal, including a historic round-robin win over Team USA.
Click here for a game story and boxscore of the U19 game last weekend