The 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship quarterfinals are set for Wednesday, with the United States and Canada returning to action.
All of the games will be broadcast on ESPN+, and the last quarterfinal featuring the United States vs. Israel will be on ESPNU.
Australia vs. England – 10 a.m. PT (SDSU Sports Deck)
Haudenosaunee vs. Japan – 1 p.m. PT (SDSU Sports Deck)
Canada vs. Jamaica – 4 p.m. PT (USD Torero Stadium)
United States vs. Israel – 7 p.m. PT (USD Torero Stadium)
No. 4 Australia and No. 5 England face off in a classic rivalry battle and a rematch of a Pool A clash on day two, which Australia won 8-4. England needed overtime to defeat Puerto Rico in the first round of the playoffs while Australia played a dominant second half to put away the Netherlands.
Australia has an active defense that has caused the fifth most turnovers at the championship, and goalkeepers Sean Aaron and Ryan Spark have done well so far to put fires out, combining to give the team the sixth most saves among all teams.. Australia has the fifth most assists in the championship, led by Mitchell Baker with seven and Connor McDonough with four.
England remains a high-volume shooting offense, averaging the fourth most shots per game. Christian Scarpello has come alive as of late with four goals against Puerto Rico and Sean Goldsmith has tallied six goals and three assists.
The No. 3 Haudenosaunee take on No. 6 Japan in a highly anticipated clash between an established top three team in the game and a rapidly developing team that has been knocking on the doorstep of the elite for a generation. The Haudenosaunee are the creators of the game of lacrosse, and have dazzled so far in San Diego with their elite stick skills and shot-making. The Japanese team has been on a mission to get to this very game and take its crack at making a first ever semifinals appearance at a men’s championship – so far it has mowed through its opponents with speed, precision and creative team offense.
Japan ranks first in San Diego in scoring offense, scoring defense, shots, shots on goal, shooting percentage and save percentage, while also ranking second in ground balls and fourth in save percentage. Japan received a sterner test than pool play in its first playoff game against Germany, but eventually pulled away with its complimentary attacking players stepping up to make plays. Hiroki Kanaya and Shinya Tateishi are the two stars to watch for Japan’s offense and Keiji Victor Ishii has been extremely effective on face-offs.
The Haudenosaunee battled the United States and Canada as well as they ever have in pool play, and came out hot in the playoffs with a 13-3 rout of Hong Kong, China. The team has the fifth best scoring offense and the third most assists, as well as a top ten scoring defense forged against the high-flying offenses in Pool A. The attacking trio of Austin Staats, Randy Staats and Jeremy Thompson has been an unsolvable equation for most defenses with their combination of power, creativity, chemistry and finishing. The Haudenosaunee’s team defense has been a focus point this championship, and it will be put to the test.
No. 2 Canada returns to action against No. 10 Jamaica, fresh off the only seeded upset of the first round of the playoffs against No. 7 Italy. Canada fell to the United States in the opening game of the tournament, 7-5, but has found its groove since since with three straight wins, including an epic tilt against the Haudenosaunee. Jamaica has worn opponents down in low-scoring games with a disciplined defense and superb game control.
Canada’s defense has been its calling card as well, with the fifth best goals-against-average posted against Pool A opposition. Canada’s offense has been as effective as needed, with an efficient 39% shooting percentage, with a higher gear lurking in store considering the attacking talent on the team. Josh Byrne, Jeff Teat and Curtis Dickson are a reliable attacking trio and all three players connect well with each other, with each posting four or more assists. Brett Dobson and Dillon Ward have split time in net and Dobson has a 65% save percentage.
Jamaica’s defense has been the story of its run, allowing 4.8 goals per game, the fourth best mark in San Diego. Jamaica has caused the second most turnovers with 26 and also boasts the fourth best save percentage thanks to goalkeeper Nate McPeak. Canada will be a different task entirely, but Jamaica was able to limit an Italian offense scoring 15 goals per game to just six. Offensively, Jamaica has scored early and controlled the game, finding timely contributions from Khairi Sears, Issaac Newland and Marcus Minichello. One of Jamaica’s methods of controlling games is the ability to draw penalties, as the team leads the field in man-up opportunities with 35 through five games.
The No. 1 United States finished pool play undefeated, but not without fierce battles with Canada and the Haudenosaunee. It will look to keep its form going against the No. 8 Israel team that is strong in all phases of the game, with a top-five scoring offense and defense. The United States has never missed out on the gold medal match in all of its appearances in the men’s championship, but Israel is the one of the best opponents the USA has ever faced in the quarterfinals.
The United States, as expected, boasts a top-five scoring offense and defense, the second best face-off percentage, and the least amount of saves made. The face-off duo of TD Ierlan and Trevor Baptiste, who combine for an 80% face-off percentage, should be key against Israel, who has a solid 57% rate. The United States’ offense has been deep and potent, but Rob Pannell, Kieran McArdle and Matt Rambo have done most of the heavy lifting, with collegiate phenom Brennan O’Neill and Michael Sowers bringing unique elements into the mix that put untenable stresses on defenses. Goalkeepers Jack Kelly and Blaze Riorden have both been solid when called upon.
Israel has been smart about forcing opponents into its pace, where its excellent defense, backstopped by the impressive Andrew Morris, can frustrate opponents. Offensively, Israel’s low-volume, methodical offense is buoyed by an extremely ruthless man-up system, as Israel has won the fourth most man-up opportunities and scored the most man-up goals: 12, a figure that doubles the second place mark. Frontman Nathaniel Solomon has provided the punch with 12 goals and five assists while running mate Robert Schain has dished out 11 assists, the most in San Diego.
Eight other games are set for day eight in San Diego, with nearly every matchup offering a competitive battle. Some standouts that will have interesting repercussions on the final seeding are Peru vs. the Philippines and Hong Kong, China vs. Germany.
Scotland vs. Poland – 10 a.m. PT (SDSU Rady Field)
Peru vs. Philippines – 10 a.m. PT (SDSU Wolf/Epoch Field)
Sweden vs. New Zealand – 1 p.m. PT (SDSU Rady Field)
Czech Republic vs. Korea – 1 p.m. PT (SDSU Wolf/Epoch Field)
Hong Kong, China vs. Germany – 4 p.m. PT (SDSU Rady Field)
Denmark vs. Austria – 4 p.m. PT (SDSU Wolf/Epoch Field)
Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico – 7 p.m. PT (SDSU Rady Field)
Uganda vs. Switzerland – 7 p.m. PT (SDSU Wolf/Epoch Field)