As we prepare for the FIL tournament, we will preview three different divisions each day leading up to the games. Today we highlight the Red, Green and Orange Divisions.
Austria: This is Austria’s second FIL tournament after their national team founded in 2008 for the European championships. They finished 21st last year overall after winning one game in group play (over Argentina) and winning two low bracket games. They were in the 21st – 24th round bracket and came out on top. They finished at 5-2.
Every player on the Austrian roster were born in Austria. The Vienna Monarchs box lacrosse team finished in sixth place in the Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament this season. On that roster was Christoph Kunert, Jakub Palkowski, Klaus Hauer, Richard Hauer and Adrian Balasch. Klaus Hauer led the Monarchs in that tournament with eight points.
Belgium: This is Belgium’s first ever FIL tournament. They have a six team national league with the Ghent Goblins, Braine Lions, Red Rhinos, Buggenhout Brewers, Mixed Mammoths and Machelan Minotauers. In the 2012 European Championships, their first appearance, they finished 15th out of 17.
The team has one Division One NCAA player, Brendan Murphy, out of Canisius. Tibor Van den Wildenbergh played Division Two with Simon Fraser. Goaltender Simon De Vos plays for first place Ghent and the highest scoring team, Buggenhout, is led by Woutter De Witte. Emile Drivjers is the leading scorer with the Red Rhinos.
Germany: Germany was in the Blue Division last year thanks to the Iroquois being unable to participate. They preceded to go 1-6. They only were able to defeat the Netherlands but because they were in the Blue Division, they finished in sixth. Germany struggled to score last tournament but they might have some added firepower this year.
Two pro players are on the roster- faceoff man Chris Mattes of MLL’s Florida Launch and Simon Giourmetakis. Giourmetakis is a former draft pick of the NLL’s Edmonton Rush and he currently plays Sr B lacrosse with the Edmonton Outlaws. Germany has succeed in box lacrosse with their Duetschland Adler team in the Ales Hrebesky along with playing in the European Lacrosse League. Some of the national players who played in the ELL incluced Max Bieber, Charly Kusch, Tim Wunderlich, Marc Brandenberger and Matthias Lehna. Brandenberger was third on the team in points with 22 this past ELL season.
Hong Kong: Hony Kong went 3-4 in 2010 after winning its first two games overall. They have been competing in championships since 2002 in Australia. Finishing in 22nd place in 2010, Hong Kong has always been a high scoring team but have struggled defensively to stop opponents.
China: This is China’s first time ever in the FIL tournament, though last year they participated in the Asian Pacific Games and making it to the bronze medal game. There are two major Chinese lacrosse events with the Hong Kong Open and Shanghai Cup. They have a young roster with several college level players such as Wan Xi and Chen Guang Ting.
Jonathan and Matt Bailey, from British Columbia and players for Simon Fraser University, are two players that highlight their defensive midfield, which looks strong. Micheal Tsing of Villanova is their only Division One player and he will be taking faceoffs, while Tyler Buchan, a Division Two attackman, adds some offense.
Italy: Italy finished 19th overall with a 5-3 record in 2010. Italy, a lot like Hong Kong, has give up a lot of goals historically but they also don’t have much firepower.
The offense should be decent with John St. John, a Canadian boxla player with the Durham Turf Dogs of the Canadian Lacrosse League. Having box skills always helps at the international level. Thomas Filbotte of Bucknell also is a new addition with 48 goals in his two seasons with the Bison.
Norway: The Norwegian program began in 2004 and last season they finished 24th overall after a 1-6 showing. Their only win came over the Iroquois in a forfeit because they did not participate. Their first ever world tournament was in 2010 and they have participated in two European championships.
The entire team is made up of players from Norway. There are currently about eight teams in Norway, and the most successful team in recent years has been the Oslo Legends. Thomas Laycock has been one of their leading scorers and he returns to the roster this year.
Netherlands: The Netherlands had a strong tournament in 2010, finishing in eighth place. Their first tournament was in 2006 when they finished 12th, and they improved drastically the next tournament. They are likely the strongest team in this division and are expected to advance.
Their head coach is Neal Powless, instantly giving the Dutch a pro-level coach. Ryan Phillips just finished his last collegiate season with Plattsburgh and leads a strong defensive unit. James van de Veerdonk also just finished his last year with Oneonta and will bring some offense. Graham Bergsma, a player with the Oakville Rock of Major Series Lacrosse and the captain of the Durham Turf Dogs brings a veteran presence to the Dutch team.
Israel: This is Israel’s first year, but it seems like we have been reading about Israeli lacrosse forever. This roster looks good and they probably won’t be a pushover in their first year competing. They have several professional and collegiate players to make one of the more well rounded rosters.
Andrew Goldstein will be manning the net, and he was a former MLL starting goaltender and was the starter at Dartmouth. Casey Cittadino of the Charlotte Hounds, Lee Coppersmith of the Florida Launch and Ari Sussman, a former Boston Cannon, are all on the roster.
Korea: Korea finished in 25th place in 2010, their second year in the tournament. Heading into their third FIL tournament, they look to compete against Israel to get out of the Orange Division. They went 3-4 in the tournament despite going 0-3 in group play.
Korea actually has an indoor lacrosse league as well and they seem to maybe be a little more developed in that version of the sport.
Slovakia: Finishing in 17th place, Slovakia went 5-2 in the tournament in 2010. It was their first FIL tournament after competing in the European championships in 2008. They also have had a presence in the indoor version of the sport in the 2011 championships in Prague.
Greg Havalchak is in net out of Rutgers and David Washo out of Penn State represent the North American presence on the roster.
Sweden: Sweden finished strong in 2010 with a tenth place ending after going 4-3. The country has been playing lacrosse since 1988 and is more developed than any other country in this division.
Led by Dickson Smith, a top LSM out of Virginia, the Swedish roster is nothing to mess with. Kevin Powers out of the Division Three Dominican University brings some offense to the table as well. In May they won the Scandinavian Lacrosse Challenge over Finland and Norway.