The first round of the playoffs is set for day seven at the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship, with six spots in the quarterfinals on the line. All games are streamed on ESPN+.
1 p.m. PT
England (5) vs. Puerto Rico (12) – SDSU Sports Deck
Japan (6) vs. Germany (11) – SDSU Rady Field
England has been faced with a tough schedule in Pool A, but will have to show its pedigree against a Puerto Rico team with an explosive offense. Puerto Rico went 3-1 in Pool C with a loss to Israel, but totaled 45 goals in the process, the fifth most in the field. England’s defense will have to slow down the trio of Russell Melendez, Kevin Lewis and Christian Laureano, who all have six or more goals. England has put up the third most shots per game in the tournament and will hope it can convert at a higher rate.
Japan has been one of the stories of the tournament so far, romping through Pool B with four wins and a combined 70-6 scoreline. Germany suffered a narrow loss to Jamaica in a 5-3 opener, but rebounded nicely to win three games and finish with a +16 goal differential. Japan’s high-flying offense is led by the duo of Hiroki Kanaya and Shinya Tateishi, who both have 16 goals, tied for the most in the tournament. Japan’s excellent defense will face its stiffest challenge yet in Germany, who are led by Per-Anders Olters, Lasse Volquardsen and Wynton Bastian.
4 p.m. PT
Australia (4) vs. Netherlands (13) – SDSU Sports Deck
Italy (7) vs. Jamaica (10) – SDSU Rady Field, 4 p.m.
Australia will also have to prove itself outside of Pool A in a matchup against a physical Netherlands team that has shown flexibility in its three wins – a high-flying rout of Korea, a back-and-forth battle with Peru, and a defensive slugfest with Latvia. Australia is led by Conor McDonough in attack, Donnie Howard and Tm Graham in midfield and Sean Aaron in goal. The Netherlands have two strong attackers in Alderik van der Heyde and Jake Bowman and two goalkeepers that have both excelled in Thomas Haitsma and Umey Albertsz.
Italy and Jamaica face off as two undefeated pool winners in one of the marquee matchups of the day and a classic clash of styles. Italy’s offense has been the second best in the championship with 60 goals, led by star attacker Christian Cuccinello with 22 points and John Piatelli with 21. Jamaica has relied on its defense, the fourth best in San Diego, led by Goran Murray and Tony Diallo among others, and Nate McPeak in net, while finding varied attacking contributions, mainly from Isaac Newman and Khairi Sears. Will Vitelli could be an x-factor for Italy on face-offs, and Italy’s goalkeeper Matt Deluca has also been strong.
7 p.m. PT
Haudenosaunee (3) vs. Hong Kong, China (14) – SDSU Sports Deck
Israel (8) vs. Ireland (9) – SDSU Rady Field
The Haudenosaunee impressed in Pool A with two strong wins over England and Australia, and two valiant efforts that brought the best out of Canada and the United States. It will look to force its way back into the business end of the tournament, starting with a takedown against Hong Kong, China, who earned the last spot in the playoffs with a dramatic win. Hong Kong is an athletic, high-powered team with a strong attacking trio of Logan Ip, Liam Ferris and Dash Tsai, but the Haudenosaunee boast a complete set of attacking talent, highlighted by Austin Staats, Lyle Thompson and Randy Staats.
Israel and Ireland feature in the second battle of undefeated pool winners on the day in another blockbuster, with the winner set to take on the United States on Wednesday. Both teams are well constructed across the field, and the matchup starts with the race between attackers Nathaniel Solomon of Israel and Conor Foley of Ireland to power their offenses. Israel has the third best scoring defense in San Diego, holding opponents to under five goals a game, and goalkeeper Andrew Morris has nearly a 60% save percentage. Ireland has the third best scoring offense behind Foley, Patrick Corbett and Tadhg O’Riordan and Ruiairi Dunbar has been strong on face-offs.
The rest of the placement games on day seven can be found here – a lot of exciting matchups are on tap between teams with similar finishes to each other in pool play.