You have to remember the controversy that surrounded the Iroquois Men’s Lacrosse team in 2010. The Iroquois Nationals were rejected from entering the UK to play in the World Lacrosse Championships, after the British consulate refused to acknowledge the team’s Haudenosaunee passports. Supporters included James Cameron and the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The New York Times to the Economist were only the tip of outlets who opened the growing diplomatic wound for the world to see.
And now, the program that is comprised of descendants of the “Creator’s Game” have accomplished something no other Iroquois lacrosse program has ever done before. Aside from the Indoor World Championships, yesterday was the first time in field lacrosse history that the Iroquois Nationals defeated the Red, White, and Blue.
TURKU, Finland – For the first time in international field competition, the Iroquois Nationals have defeated a United States lacrosse team. The Iroquois under-19 team beat the U.S., 15-13, in a pool play game at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships on Tuesday afternoon in Finland.
The U.S. led 5-2 after the first quarter and 8-6 at halftime, but the Iroquois rallied to take a 9-8 lead less than four minutes into the second half and never trailed the rest of the game. The teams were tied at 11 and 13 in the fourth quarter before Hank Delisle scored the go-ahead goal with 5:35 left.
The U.S. had a man-up chance with less than three minutes remaining, but a Matt Kavanagh try didn’t get through. The Iroquois got possession and, after a time out with two minutes left, Lyle Thompson eluded multiple defenders to kill clock, and he drew two penalties, helping Delisle tack on an insurance goal with 49 seconds to go.
The U.S. finishes pool play with a 2-2 record and will now play the winner of Germany-Wales in a quarterfinal game at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Turku.
Team USA has never needed to play in the quarterfinal round since sanctioned international U19 play began in 1988. The loss drops its overall record to 38-2, after an 11-9 overtime loss to Canada on Saturday.
The Iroquois (3-1) will be seeded second for the medal rounds and receive a bye to the semifinals, where a potential rematch with the U.S. awaits. Canada, which led Australia 11-0 in the second quarter of a game in progress, will be the top seed.
It’s the first outdoor, field win for the Iroquois against the U.S., although they have beaten the U.S. in previous world indoor championships.
IRQ 2 4 5 4 – 15
USA 5 3 1 4 – 13
Goals: IRQ – B. Bomberry 3, Delisle 3, Staats 3, J. Bomberry 1, Oakes 1, J. Powless 1, Q. Powless 1, Tarbell 1 Thompson 1; USA – Kavanagh 4, Tagliaferri 4, Leonard 2, Eipp 1, Tucker 1, Zoppo 1
Assists: IRQ – Delisle 1; USA – Kavanagh 2, Buczek 1, Keenan 1, Tagliaferri 1
Saves: IRQ – Hill 7; USA – Oliveri 4, Turri 4
Faceoffs: IRQ – 12 of 30; Miller 7 of 15, Q. Powless 5 of 15; USA – 18 of 30; Raffa 8 of 15, Barbarich 8 of 12, Kelly 2 of 3