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June 19, 2014

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FIL 2014 Preview: Plum Division Breakdown

by Brett Amadon | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Argentina went winless in its first visit to the FIL World Championships in 2010. Can they notch their first win this time around against a tough group? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

With plenty of attention on the Blue Division and favorites like Team USA and Canada, Brett Amadon will be breaking down the other divisions in the lead-up to the FIL World Championships, kicking off next month in Commerce City, Co. Catch all the action by picking up your tickets today!

Teams listed in alphabetical order. View the full schedule of the event here.

Previous Breakdowns: Orange Division

Argentina

2010 Results: 0-6 overall (0-3 group play), 28th place
Head Coach: Ben Brenneman

Names Worth Knowing
A - Carlos Astrada (Guerreros)
M - Nicolas Pedalino (Guerreros)

Astrada and Pedalino are veterans on the Argentine team as they both competed on the 2010 squad in Manchester. As a team looking to improve its offensive sets to take pressure off a defense that was worn down last time out, Astrada and Pedalino will be two players who could play a vital role in making that happen.

Outlook

Nicknamed "celestes y blancos," Argentina will be competing in its second World Championships. Head coach Ben Brenneman, who is a former Duke lacrosse co-captain and current head coach of Kent Denver School, will try to help his team earn its first FIL World Championship win.

Ultimately, 2010 provided an opportunity for Argentina to get its feet wet and develop the program, but that process did not come without a few growing pains. Going winless in the group stage, Argentina struggled to score as well as keep the ball out of the net, finishing with a goal differential of -54, worst in the tournament. Playing in the bottom bracket during the knockout stage, Argentina fell at the hands of Italy 10-3, forcing them into the 25th-28th place bracket. There, Argentina lost to South Korea before playing its closest contest of the tournament, a 10-8 loss to France. Argentina was joined by Mexico (29th place) as the only countries not to earn a win in 2010.*

*The Iroquois Nationals also went 0-3 due to forfeits after the team did not travel to Manchester due to Passport issues.

New Zealand

2010 Results: 5-2 overall (2-1 group play), 15th place
Head Coach: Robert Macaluso

Names Worth Knowing
F/O - Nick Ravenhall (Oslo Legends)
A - Nick Low (Harbour Hawks)
M - Jeremy Kincaid (Eastern Chiefz)

Ravenhall and Low are main fixtures on the New Zealand squad, competing in their fourth world championship. Kincaid is the face of the future for New Zealand lacrosse. The 19-year old currently plays for the Eastern Chiefz and will look to provide an offensive spark on an otherwise veteran laden squad. Check out Ravenhall leading the team (and explaining) Haka prior to a game in 2010.

Outlook

Being one of the more experienced teams in the Plum Division, as well as the tournament, New Zealand will look to continue its trend of improvement. First competing in Perth, Australia in 2002, New Zealand finished 15th out of 15 teams. In 2006, New Zealand made a small step as it finished 19th out of 21 teams before finishing 15th out of 29 in 2010.

New Zealand started off 2010 on a strong note, dominating France 18-3. However, they ran into a Scotland team which finished 7th overall, losing 18-8, before rebounding to take down Latvia and advance to the middle bracket of the knockout stage. A convincing semi-final win over Switzerland set up a rematch with Latvia, and New Zealand once again walked away victorious. Finishing the tournament in the 13th-16th place bracket, New Zealand dropped a tough game to the Czech Republic before recovering to defeat Spain and earn 15th place.

Russia

2010 Results: Did Not Compete
Head Coach: Pete Milliman

Names Worth Knowing:
M - Eugene Arkhipov (RIT)
M - Dmitry Khamin (Moscow Lacrosse Club)
A - Alec Tilley (Belleville Township High School (Ill.)

Arkhipov is a player to watch for on the offensive side of the field for Russia. One of its more talented dodgers, Arkhipov played at Rochester Institute of Technology. Tilley is an attackman who is known for his finishing ability after playing in the 2013 Turkey Lacrosse Open. Khamin is the do-it-all midfielder for Russia, making his presence known on both ends of the field.

Origin

The Moscow Lacrosse Club was founded in 2007 by David Diamonon after he moved to Russia from Houston, Tx. It wasn't until the summer of 2009 when a group of young Russians expressed serious interest in the game. With the help of Diamonon and other experienced players (from the U.S., Germany, and Japan), the fundamental skills began to develop and the club started playing weekly pick-up games.

Outlook

Since its start in 2007 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country has grown enough to find itself as one of the nine new teams participating in Denver. The first organized lacrosse game played in Russia's history was the 2010 Capitals Cup which featured a matchup between the Rebels of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Mixing in players who have participated on club teams throughout Russia as well as in the United States, Russia will look to use that experience to make noise in Denver.

Wales

2010 Results: 5-2 overall (3-0 group play), 11th place
Head Coach: Dan Funnell

Names Worth Knowing
F/O - Rhodri Stanford (Swansea, West Glamorgan)
D - Rhodri Evans (Barry, Vale of Glamorgan)

Evans and Stanford will provide leadership for Wales as both competed in the FIL World Championship in 2006 and 2010. In addition, Stanford competed on the 2003 U19 Worlds squad while Evans played in the 2003 and 2008 U19 Worlds.

Origin

Lacrosse has been around since the early 1900's in Wales, yet the first international competition didn't take place until 1992 when they took on Scotland. Since that time, Wales has competed in every major championship and today, Wales has four major clubs and six universities playing lacrosse where its players are drawn from throughout the United Kingdom.

Outlook

Y Dreigiau Coch - "The Red Dragon" - is the slogan of a Wales squad which will travel to Denver as one of the more accomplished countries in the 38 team field, competing in its sixth world championship. Never finishing lower than 13th in any tournament, Wales will rely on its previous FIL experience to guide its way through the Plum Division.

Four years ago, after taking down the Netherlands in one of the more exciting group play matches, 10-9, Wales rolled through its next two opponents, taking down Austria and Argentina by a combined score of 39-3. As winners of the group, Wales advanced to the top bracket where they edged Finland in the semi-finals setting up a rematch with the Netherlands. In another nail-biter, the Netherlands walked away victorious the second time by a score of 9-8. Falling into the 9th-12th place bracket, Wales struggled to score in a 9-5 loss to Sweden before bouncing back to top Finland for the second time and finish the tournament in 11th place.


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