National Lacrosse Team Battles 12th Place in European Championship
Amsterdam 2012 is now in the history books with a huge turn out and participation from all across Europe. The Slovak team, going in to this huge tournament amongst well established leagues and teams ,started an uphill battle against Israel, Wales, France, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic to place 12th out of 17 teams competing for the Championship spot. This is up two positions from the last National Championship standings.
With an 18 man team, 10 on the field to play, we had minimal substitution and room for injuries or exhaustion. With 3 players joining from North America to join the squad, we went into the 1st game against the United States of Israel, with a score of 8:11 in favor of the Israel team in a tough opening match for the Slovaks. The 2nd game against Wales proved to be much better than in the 2010 World with a much narrower point spread of only 12:6 for the Welsh. Slovakia in the 3rd game against France proved to be a competitor with a narrow victory of 11:10. The 4th game was also a battle of two evenly matched teams with another victory to go to Slovakia with a single goal to lead them to the win 9:10. The next matchup was between the 3rd place team in a blue bracket, Ireland, whom took 2nd in the Championship against England. It was a very tough game with a 15:3 win for Ireland but in Lacrosse this is not a high scoring game when the teams are not evenly matched by level and team size. The next three matches against Wales, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic proved to be too much for the small Slovak team, this was a long 10 days of matches against the best in Europe. This may not be North American competition, but with many players joining from the US and Canada to each and every team, there was a high level of skill and competitiveness amongst all the teams.
With an early injury to the starting goalie in game 2 and a substitution with a much younger Goaltender, proved to be a challenge with 130+ shots on goal and an impressive 43% save average for this young player. Our hats are off to the willingness and ability of this player to stand in and defend our goal with pride and dedication. A total of 48 personal penalties equaling 65.5 minutes of man down was average for the tournament, but the 29 technical penalties allowing turnovers proved to be a key factor in some of the goals obtained by the opponents. Topping the points spread sheet for Slovakia was Bradley Vrecko with 12 goals, closely followed by Ivan Cernak with 11 goals. Tomas Lichtner scoring from behind the goal with 9 and Martin Kramar with 7 from the top of the crease buried into the back of the net. Noah Holsten ended the tournament with 4 goals but had to retire early due to a shoulder injury in game 8. Miroslav Samo, Boris Seversky, Jozef Tomenga and Jaroslav Gregor all collecting one goal each to add to the points spread sheet.
With the team now back in Slovakia and the tournament behind them they will set their sights on the 2014 World Championship in Denver, Colorado. The National team will have two years to prepare for the largest Lacrosse tournament in the world.
As all things have a beggining and an end, the all-time top scorer and one of the individuals responsible for helping to build this National team will say goodbye to International play. Mr. Tomas Lichtner, #21 starting attack, has announced his final season with the team after the final battle against the Czech Republic. As a celebration for his commitment and outstanding contribution to the team we would like to all say a special thanks and hope he will support the team even if not on the field. Lifted into the air by all the members of the team with a Hip Hip Horary we will retire the #21 and always remember Tomas and his skills as an attack in the Blue, White and Red for Slovakia!
We would like to thank all the support from fans all across the globe for their outstanding backing of this National team. We are looking forward to new beginnings and the start of training this September for fall and then onto the box lacrosse league in the winter.
If you are interested in joining the team and participating in one of the fastest growing sports in the world please visit our web sites for further information and practice schedules. http://www.lacrosse.sk/slf/bleskovky/?lang=en & http://www.tricksters.sk/uvod/?lang=en
By Daniel Logan