When the final buzzer sounded Team USA once again was the winner of the bronze medal in the FIL-World Indoor Lacrosse Championships as the defeated Team Israel 15-4.
USA controlled the game from start to finish as Marcus Holman would score just fifty four seconds into the game. Holman would score his second of his three goals before the first quarter ended to put USA up 5-1.
The score wouldn’t change until Israel would score their second goal at 8:28 of quarter two. Meanwhile, goalie Zach Higgins started to play phenomenal by keeping USA off the scoreboard for almost eleven minutes, but his counterpart David Mather would not allow another goal until 8:09 of the third quarter.
During that time, USA would score five straight to open a 10-2 lead and put the game away at that point. After their loss to the Iroquois National Team on Friday night, Head Coach Tony Resch knew it wouldn’t be difficult getting these guys pumped for this game. “It’s not hard to get these guys motivated after a loss”, said Head Coach Tony Resch. “We wanted to be out there preparing to play in the gold medal game, which was our goal”.
The USA was an underdog to even medal in the even, but by the end of the tournament any questions about this team were answered as they would be presented with the bronze medal.
Former Syracuse star Casey Powell was back at his old stomping grounds as he wore his #22 back inside the Carrier Dome for one final game. Powell would register a goal and five assists. Joe Walters (1G/6A) helped Powell set the pace.
“We have a great bunch of guys in that locker room”, Powell said. “They made this tournament a great experience.
When asked if we would see him back in the 2019 tournament, Powell chuckled and said, “I’ll be 43, not sure this old body will let me, but I will go as long as I can.” Powell went on to say, “If I am not playing, hopefully I’ll be behind the bench or helping these guys out in some capacity.”
The ageless wonder Casey Powell has returned home to Syracuse to play in one of the grandest events. Family, friends and many of his fans in the crowd possibly watching him live for one final time. Casey would cheer his guys up by telling them “Don’t worry guys, we’ll get them in four years.” At that moment everyone in the locker room looked at me funny.”
Jeff Ratcliffe came out of retirement for the event. Back in February he heard about try-outs for Team USA. “I know I would regret it if I didn’t make that call.” Said Ratcliffe. The call he is referring to was to friend and assistant coach Adam Mueller and ask what he needs to do. “You’re serious,” said Mueller aren’t you? So for the next few months Jeff would start a strict diet and workout to get into the best shape he has been in since his rookie season back in 2001 with the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL. Jeff would call it a career in 2008 as he was hampered with neck and back issues.
“These last ten days have been phenomenal,” said Ratlcliffe. “I am very glad I made that call.”
Powell (1G/5A), and Walters (1G/6A), Buchanan (4G/4A), Holman (3G), Resetarits (2G/4A), Thul (1G/2A) and Blaze Riorden (2G/1A). For being the only college player on this team, Blaze represented University of Albany very well. No doubt he will be back in 2019.
David Mather would stop 19 of 23 shots faced before Chris Collins would finish the last 10 minutes of action by not allowing a goal on the five shots he faced.