July 15, 2010

England Downs Germany in FIL Opener

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

MANCHESTER, England -- Host England made a statement in the opening game of the 2010 FIL World Championship, storming to a 12-3 victory over Germany. The English win boosted them to the top of the Blue Division with a 1-0 start, while Germany, which was recently promoted to the Blue Division in place of the embattled Iroquois team, falls to 0-1.

Attacker Nick Watson (1g) opened scoring for tournament just 57 seconds into the game, kicking off a 3-0 run for the English to build a lead that the hosts never relinquished. Team Germany closed the gap to 4-2 late in the second quarter, but a pretty shot from Lewis Ratcliff (3g, 4a) split the German goalie's legs and gave the English a 5-2 halftime lead.

"The first game's always a little rusty. We were being a bit frantic, so I said, 'Let's slow down and play our game,'" said England head coach Dave Elwood. "There was a change [of opponent] at the last minute, and that's was a bit tough to take, but they took it well."

The English clamped down in the second half, allowing only one goal thanks to the efforts of goalie Ben "Big Mac" McCallister (16 saves). Excellent outside shooting allowed England to stretch the lead as the game wore on.

"It feels really good to get the win, after 18 months of training five or six days a week," said team captain Tom Williamson who anchored the defense along with McCallister. "We were prepared to play any game this morning. At halftime, I told them to relax your shoulders, throw the ball around, and we could score goals. And we did."

Elwood graciously dished out praise for Germany, which took on the challenge of playing in the Blue Division in place of the Iroqouis team, which has been delayed due to visa and passport problems.

"As for the Iroquois, we're very sad that they can't be here, but I'm so pleased for Germany. I've played against them since '99, and it's great to see them doing well," said Elwood.

The Germans seem pleased with their first Blue Division effort, dancing on the field after the game and bowing to the fans who stayed through the driving rain to support their team. Attacker Gregory Lazarus led Germany with two goals.

"We knew it was a big difference, but this is why we're here. We were happy to jump in hook, line and sinker. Now, the sinker was a little heavier than we thought. We'll try to make the sinker a little lighter in the other games," said German head coach Jack Kaley.

When asked if the FIL win over Germany took the sting out of England's 4-1 loss to the German's in the FIFA World Cup, Elwood replied with a laugh: "It certainly does. It's a nice feeling. England-Germany is always a rivalry, and we're happy to get one back for the footballers."

England - Lewis Ratcliff 3g, 4a; Adi Bennett 3g; Todd Baxter 2g; Tom Gosnay 1g; Sam Russell 1g; Matt Bagley 1g; Nick Watson 1g; Ben McAllister 16 saves from 26 shots

Germany -  Gregory Lazarus 2g; Matt Althauser 1


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