The first game of day two of the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship was a thriller at Wolf/Epoch Field, as Latvia staged a dramatic comeback to upend Peru in a 7-6 win.
Peru took a 5-4 lead around halfway through the third quarter, and led again with six minutes to play in the fourth after a goal from Mikael Chullen.
Latvia looked it might run out of time, still trailing with under a minute to play. A ride forced a crucial turnover in Latvia’s defensive half, and the team was able to convert quickly.
Aleksandrs Eglitis found himself in a one-on-one situation, backed down his defender, and ripped a shot from a side angle to tie the game with 32 seconds left.
Latvia picked up the loose ball on the ensuing face-off and set up quickly with less than 20 seconds to go.
“Gutmanis had his head up, found Kaspars [Rudzinskis] for the dunk, and we were pretty excited,” said Riley Lasda, a Latvia defender. “We believed we had it all the way until the end.”
Latvia heard the final whistle moments later and erupted in celebration with a sizable contingent of fans in attendance.
“The fans were unbelievable,” said Lasda. “We’re a very passionate team and we kept it fairly well-controlled today, but it’s fun to go through those positive emotions together. It was probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever had, so we’re thankful for the support and the people working behind the scenes to make this possible.”
Peru nearly escaped with the win, showing an improved from its finish in the 2018 championship.
“We knew coming in that everybody was going to be serious,” said Lasda. “This is my 10th year at World Lacrosse events and each year it’s become better and better. Each team is playing at a high level – you get up by a couple, down by a couple, you keep worrying about the ball right in front of you.”