LIMERICK, Ireland – Pool play concluded on Monday at the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 Championship after 39 games, with the brackets poised for the next five days of action.
Three teams won on Monday to claim the top spot in their pools: Japan; Hong Kong, China; and the United States. The three teams joined Ireland and Wales as the five undefeated teams after six days of competition in Limerick.
Twelve teams will compete in the championship bracket vying for the gold medal, starting with four play-in matches on Tuesday. The remaining 10 teams will compete in the platinum bracket to determine 13th through 22nd place — Chinese Taipei will finish 23rd after withdrawing from the tournament.
Korea repelled a late challenge from Uganda to secure its first victory in Limerick, 11-8. Uganda scored three goals in a row to cut the lead to one early in the fourth quarter, but Korea reeled off three goals of its own to pull away. Luke Smith paced the offense with five goals and two assists, while Deukryeol Yoon added two goals and an assist and goalkeeper Theodore Kim made 10 saves on 17 shots. Korea will face Kenya at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the platinum bracket.
Swibu Meliga turned in six points for Uganda with five goals and an assist. Uganda will face Poland at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the platinum bracket.
The Czech Republic took care of Israel, 11-4, for its first win of the tournament and the third-place spot in Pool B. Jan Fišer was superb with two goals and four assists, and Tomáš Knotek chipped in four goals while Jan Dobiáš won 10 of 13 face-offs. The Czech Republic will face Ireland in the championship bracket play-in round on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Israel will take on England in the championship bracket play-in round at 4 p.m.
Japan outlasted Puerto Rico, 10-9, in one of the highlight games of the tournament so far to improve to 3-0 and finish first in Pool B. Puerto Rico trailed by four goals in the second half, but twice fought back to within one and had a chance to tie the game in a dramatic final minute. Nine players scored Japan’s 10 goals in a balanced display, as Uta Kaigara led the way with two goals and an assist. Japan will face off against Jamaica in the curtain raiser of the championship bracket play-in round at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Joshua Balarcel scored three goals for Puerto Rico, which will face Germany in the final game of the championship bracket play-in round on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The United States put an emphatic stamp on its pool play campaign with a 17-2 win over Australia to improve to 4-0 and claim the top seed in the championship bracket. Three players had four or more points including a hat trick for the USA: Cole Kirst, Christopher Kirst and Alexander Slusher. Cole Kirst added three assists to his three goals. Alec Stathakis continued his scorching form on face-offs, winning 14 of 18 to bring his overall winning percentage 77%, the highest among any player with over 10 face-offs. The United States will play in the championship bracket quarterfinals on Wednesday, when it will take on the winner of Puerto Rico vs. Germany at 7 p.m.
Australia finished as the third seed in Pool A, and will also play in the championship bracket quarterfinals. It will take on the winner of Japan vs. Jamaica at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
China stormed past Kenya for a 12-1 win to improve to 3-1, with the game concluding with five minutes remaining due to inclement weather. Dylan Hsu posted his second game this tournament with three goals and three assists, and is tied for the third most points in Limerick with 16 total. Keegan Hughes and Damon Hsu both registered three points, while goalkeeper Haoxuan Cui was outstanding with 14 saves on 15 shots faced. China will face the Netherlands in the platinum bracket play-in round at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Kenya will face Korea at 5 p.m. in the platinum bracket play-in round.
Hong Kong, China completed its undefeated run in pool play with a 10-4 victory over Sweden. Carter Li was responsible for six points on five goals and an assist, while Glen To added three assists. Pak Long Chan played his part in the win in net, making 11 saves on 15 shots. Hong Kong, China will play in the platinum bracket quarterfinals on Wednesday at 3 p.m. against the winner of Poland vs. Uganda.
Sweden saw another three goals from Jonas Hunter, who leads the tournament with 14 goals and ranks second with 18 points. Sweden will face an undefeated Wales team in the platinum bracket quarterfinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Canada closed out the evening by defeating the Haudenosaunee, 14-6, and cementing its grip on second place in Pool A. Thomas McConvey led all scorers with four goals and an assist, and eight players in total got on the scoresheet. Canada will play in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Ireland vs. Czech Republic.
Jack VanValkenburg made another 11 saves and leads all goalkeepers with 48 total saves. The Haudenosaunee enter the championship bracket as the fourth seed in Pool A and await the winner of England vs. Israel in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
August 15 Results
Uganda 8, Korea 11
Israel 4, Czech Republic 11
Poland 1, Chinese Taipei 0*
Japan 10, Puerto Rico 9
Australia 2, United States 17
Kenya 1, China 12
Sweden 4, Hong Kong, China 10
Canada 14, Haudenosaunee 6
*Chinese Taipei has withdrawn from the tournament and forfeited its remaining pool play games.
August 16 Schedule
Times listed in Irish Standard Time.
10 a.m. // Japan vs. Jamaica, Field 1, ESPN+ (also LSN in Asia)
1 p.m. // Ireland vs. Czech Republic, Field 1, ESPN+
3 p.m. // Poland vs. Uganda, Field 2, LSN
4 p.m. // England vs. Israel, Field 1, ESPN+
5 p.m. // Korea vs. Kenya, Field 3, LSN
6 p.m. // Netherlands vs. China, Field 2, LSN
7 p.m. // Puerto Rico vs. Germany, Field 1, ESPN+