International Men

 
July 5, 2014

FIL 2014 Preview: Turquoise Division Breakdown

by Brett Amadon | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | World Lacrosse 2014


After a 16th place finish four years ago, Spain looks to take another step forward in 2014. (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 | Plum Division | Grey Division | Green Division | Red Division 

Colombia

2010 Results: First Time Competitor
Head Coach: Miles Makdisi

Names Worth Knowing

M - Will Cañas (Pereira Wolves)
G - Fabian "Delfín" Ortiz (Bogotá Legends)
M - Camilo Lesmes (Bogotá Legends)

Cañas has only been playing lacrosse for a year, but he is a fluid midfielder with quick feet, the ability to dodge to both sides and shoot with either hand. Cañas is described as a true two-way midfielder who plays solid on-ball defense and knows when to slide and provide off-ball support. Ortiz has been a goaltender on the rise for Colombia. With quick hands and a mental toughness to go along with the natural instincts he possesses, Ortiz has used his strong work ethic to improve at a healthy pace. Lesmes has been a part of the growth of Colombian lacrosse since day one. He is the most complete player in Colombia in terms of field skills and knowledge and should be a key to the team's success this month in Colorado.

Origin

On July 15, 2012, the first practice took place in Colombia with only five sticks and one ball. One month later, current head coach Mile Makdisi, formerly a coach of the University of Oregon (MCLA), moved to Bogotá, Colombia. With his help, along with the support of the California and Oregon lacrosse communities, equipment began to make its way to Colombia and the sport started to grow in popularity. An official FIL visit by clinicians Kevin Dugan and Merrill "Skipp" Stillwell in December of 2012 paved the way for the creation of the Colombia Lacrosse Association, a move that solidified the creation of new clubs in cities such as Pereira, Colombia in February of 2013. At that time, Makdisi moved to Pereira and former Dartmouth defenseman Michael Gordon arrived in Bogotá as part of the WorldTeach program. In June of 2013, the first official men's and women's game took place between Bogotá and Pereira.

Finland

2010 Results: 5-3 overall (3-0 group play), 12th place
Head Coach: Grif Barhight

Names Worth Knowing

M - Nick Ranta (Furman)
M - Anssi Kaisalmi (Mercer)
D - Eric Cooley (Rutgers)

Cooley was a member of Finland's U-19 team that competed at the 2012 World Lacrosse Championships in Germany and just completed his sophomore year at Rutgers University. He has seen action in 13 games for the Scarlet Knights under coach Brian Brecht. Kaisalmi is a native of Turku, Finland where he competed for Luostarivuoren Lukio. This past season at Mercer, Kaisalmi registered five points (four goals, one assist) for coach Kyle Hannan and the Bears. Ranta just finished up his freshman season at first-year program Furman University where he is coached by Team USA head coach Richie Meade.

Origin

Lacrosse has been on the rise in Finland, but it has done so slowly. In a hockey-rich country, lacrosse is currently played in the cities of Helsinki, Turku, Vaasa and Lahti (site of the 2008 European Championship). However, Finland faces challenges when it comes to weather as its summers are short, so finding places to develop players year-round is difficult. Regardless, Finland has a number of veteran players who are teaching the game to younger, more inexperienced players in addition to the growing number of youth programs being developed.

Outlook

Finland had a perfect showing in group play in 2010. Can they return to form against a trio of Spanish-speaking countries in the Turquoise Division? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

Finland got off to a perfect start in 2010, cruising past Denmark and Bermuda to begin group play. In its last group play game against Poland, the Finns had a flare for the dramatic, topping Poland in overtime, 12-11, to advance into the upper bracket. Stepping up a level in competition, Finland dropped its first game of the tournament to Wales, 9-7, before bouncing back to run past Spain, 21-4. The win set-up a rematch between Finland and Poland, with the Finns again winning to advance to the 9th-12th place bracket. However, Finland struggled to score as they lost to Ireland, 17-6, before losing to Wales for the second time to finish the tournament in 12th place.

Mexico

2010 Results: 0-5 overall (0-3 group play), 29th place
Head Coach: Carlos Trujillo

Names Worth Knowing

A - Axkana Patraca (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana)
M - José Luis Espinosa (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
M - Joe Vila (Chico State)

Patraca is the top player in Mexico and currently leads the attack unit for UAM Panteras. He is a player who can play with either hand and is dangerous as both a feeder and a dodger. Espinosa was an influential person in getting lacrosse started in Mexico and will be Mexico's top defensive midfielder this summer after making the switch from long-stick midfielder. Joe Vila brings much needed experience to the team along with his brother Mike, two American based players whose versatility will allow them to play any position for Mexico.

Origin

José Luis Espinosa first played lacrosse at the University of Michigan Dearborn and instantly fell in love with the game. Upon his return to Mexico, he started developing the sport at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), one of the largest and most respected universities in Mexico. In the summer of 2009, Osvaldo Diaz arranged housing and organized for 12 American players to come to Mexico City to introduce the game to locals. The 12 American players incorporated 18 Mexican players into two teams and held exhibition games at Tec de Monterrey, UNAM, and Universidad Iberoamericana. This event helped to establish lacrosse as a sport in Mexico, and today, Espinosa continues to be a driving force in the Mexican lacrosse community as he will be participating in his second FIL World Championship.

Outlook

Getting dealt a tough division in 2010 made things difficult on Mexico. Going up against Sweden and the Czech Republic, Mexico struggled on both ends of the field, losing the two games by a combined score of, 41-3. Rounding out group play against Italy, Mexico's defense improved, but they still couldn't find the back of the net with any regularity as they finished group play winless after falling to the Italians, 12-3. The loss placed Mexico in the lower bracket where they put up their two strongest showings, albeit in losses. After being narrowly edged by the Republic of Korea, 10-9, Mexico again dropped a tightly played contest against France, 10-6. However, as loser of the lower bracket, Mexico finished the tournament in 29th place with an 0-5 record.

Spain

2010 Results: 3-4 overall (3-0 group play), 16th place
Head Coach: Luke Christiansen

Names Worth Knowing

A - Jon Eguren (SUNYIT)
LSM - Darrel Hunter (Swarthmore College)
G - Álvaro Couceiro (Madrid Lacrosse)

Outlook

2010 was whirlwind ride for the Spaniards. Opening up the tournament with a forfeit win over the Iroquois, Spain edged out Norway and Hong Kong by a combined five goals to win the group and advance to the upper bracket. However, Spain struggled to do much of anything there, suffering lopsided losses to the Netherlands, 16-1, and 2014 Turquoise Division opponent Finland, 21-4. Despite its two-game losing streak, Spain still played its way into the 13th-16th place bracket. A close loss at the hands of Poland in the semi-finals gave Spain a shot at New Zealand, but again, the Spaniards struggled defensively, losing, 23-5, to finish the tournament in 16th place.


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