(COQUITLAM, BC) The United States captured their sixth-straight World U-19 Field Lacrosse Championship gold medal with a convincing 19-12 victory over Canada on Saturday.
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had,” said United States’ Craig Dowd of the victory. “We were mentally ready for this game. We knew there was a lot of pressure on us. A lot of guys stepped up and were leaders today.”
The United States remains unbeaten all-time in U-19 play with a perfect and impressive 36-0 record.
“It feels great, I can’t even explain it,” added United States’ face-off specialist Matt Dolente, who teammates praised after the game for going 19 of 28 in the face-off circle.
“To be able to wear this jersey and come out with a gold medal is an amazing feeling, especially this year with all the talk of how close the Canadians were getting to us – and they were – they were a great team.”
FIL 2008 U19 World Championship – Gold Medal Game
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Canada had played the USA much closer in their round-robin game last Sunday. In fact, Canada took a 14-7 lead into the last quarter of their round-robin match against the US, eventually losing 16-15 in overtime. That gave the Canadians some confidence going into the final to face the unbeaten squad from the States.
The medal-round was a different story, however, or much the same as the fourth-quarter of their round-robin match.
“We just got outplayed in all different aspects on the field – face-offs, saves, loose balls, shooting percentage, all that good stuff. If you’re not winning the little battles, you’re likely not going to win the game – and that was the obvious result today.”
—Gary Gait, Canadian Head Coach
“They dominated,” said Canadian head coach Gary Gait. “They came out and they played very well. We didn’t step-up and we made some simple mistakes. Maybe it was the pressure, I’m not sure, but that’ s just the way it turned out.”
“I thought it was a great bonding game against Canada (in the round-robin),” added USA head coach Chuck Apel. “We gave them an opportunity but the kids just willed their way back against Canada and won it. I thought it gave them a lot of confidence but it also made them realize that they really had to focus and be ready for today.”
The United States jumped out to an early first-quarter lead in the gold medal game, scoring two minutes in and leading 7-3 after the first quarter. Six different scorers tallied for the Americans, with star Craig Dowd finding rope twice. One of Canada’s goals came on the man-up.
Canada did respond early in the second-quarter, scoring four straight to tie the game up at 7-7 with 10 minutes to play in the half. But the USA scored three straight to end the half up 10-7 USA.
Canada again started the scoring in the second-half, but the US rattled off three straight goals in three minutes to extend the lead to 13-8. Canada tallied twice to make it 13-10 before the teams traded goals, allowing the US to take a 14-11 lead into the fourth and final-quarter.
In the first four minutes of that fourth-quarter, the USA went on another three goal run to push their lead to commanding 17-11 score.
“We just got outplayed in all different aspects on the field – face-offs, saves, loose balls, shooting percentage, all that good stuff,” added Gait. “If you’re not winning the little battles, you’re likely not going to win the game – and that was the obvious result today.”
“I just think we were just a little bit better than them,” stated USA head coach Chuck Apel. “I think we had a little lapse in the third quarter, but as long as we didn’t have that happen again, we’d be O.K. You know, we present a lot of match-up challenges for people, because we have a lot of good players that can get to goal and a lot that can score.”
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had.” We were mentally ready for this game. We knew there was a lot of pressure on us. A lot of guys stepped up and were leaders today.”
—Craig Dowd, Team USA
Dowd was named the tournament’s top attackman. He led the US with 21 goals in seven games played, finishing with a hat-trick in the final. Nick Elsmo and Dean Gibbons also put in three for the Americans. Anthony Mendes, Tim Donovan and Ramel Bratton each scored twice in the US victory.
All World Team honors are awarded to the the tournament’s most outstanding players by position.
All World Team
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Tournament Top Individual Player Awards are presented to the top four players by position. The Most Valuable Player award is presented to the tournament’s best player.
Best Players Awards
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Honorable Mention Awards
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Final Tournament Placings
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Canada was led offensively by Adam Jones who had five goals in the loss.
“We were selected over a year ago, we’ve been waiting for this for such a long time,” added American defenseman John Lade, who held 17-year-old standout Mark Cockerton to a single goal today. “It’s been great, it’s been an unbelievable experience.”
“The coaches always made sure we were ready to play,” added Lade of the coaching staff. “We always knew what was coming at us and the coaches did a great job.”
“Every athlete has one of those days where nothing goes right, and today was one of those days,” said Canada’s starting keeper Remington Steele. “We all definitely feel like we let one slip. I think we can compete with anyone out here. I think we can give the US a better game than that, but I just think we let one get away today.”
“The tournament is going to get more and more competitive,” added Apel on how the level of competition internationally is improving each tournament. “It’s a lot of fun though, the kids had a great time so it was a great thing to do. This is a great spot of the world and it was nice to come out here too.”
“This is still a more competitive game from the last U-19 World Championships,” added Gait. “We’ll continue to improve and work towards it next time.”
Highlights from USA’s 19-12 Gold medal victory against Canada. (www.gametapes.com)