The closing ceremonies were held at the Baltimore Convention Center. Overall, it was a good function. However, I left the banquet a little disappointed. Entering the Convention Center all you saw were red, white, and blue balloons. In addition, the video to close the ceremony was flooded with highlights from the USA - Canada championship game. This was a fantastic game, but I feel the committee missed the boat on the overall achievements of the tournament. This was the largest number of countries competing, EVER! Yet, there were hardly any highlights from the Red division games. I think I remember seeing Germany once, Japan a couple of times, and maybe one other team. In addition, Germany had a player lead the tournament in scoring and he wasn't even mentioned in the awards ceremony. It was a terrible let down if you ask me. Following the banquet I spoke with several others who felt the same way. It's a shame that with all of the advances we've made as a sport, we're still standing still. It would have been nice to send the Czech's and the Swedish team home talking about their highlights that were played at the closing ceremony.
Well, that's all from me. I thoroughly enjoyed keeping this journal for E-Lacrosse, the BEST lacrosse web-site out there. I would like to thank John for giving me this opportunity and want to congratulate him on all of his success. I hope you all have enjoyed this and will continue to follow lacrosse on E-Lacrosse. Good luck to all of the new nations competing and we'll see you in Australia in 2002.
We had a team meeting this morning to prepare for the Australia game. We know who their top scorers are and what type of offense and defense they run. Our game plan is a bit different for this game though. Coach Doctor wants to use Gewas Schindler and me at the midfield a little in this game. He feels that we are good dodgers that can beat their short stick midfielders. I like this idea and can't wait to see what happens!
Prior to the game Coach Doctor called the team together for a quick speech. What he said touched me deeply and I am sure many of our other players felt the same way. He talked about all the other Iroquois who gave a great deal for us to be where we were. Without the efforts that they had put forth, we wouldn't be playing for a medal. He talked about the opportunities that THEY would never have, this opportunity (playing for a medal). He said they're all there for us, rooting for us, wanting us to be the first to win that medal. It brought tears to my eyes, and I was so pumped for the game.
Well, our game plan started out to be effective. Gewas had an excellent scoring opportunity early on, and hit the pipe. The next offensive series was my turn to dodge. I beat my man and scored the games first goal. Two minutes later, we scored again and we were up 2 -0. Australia scored next on an extra-man situation to close within one. I came in again matched up on a short-stick and once again I was able to beat him. This time I scored a lefty goal top shelf. I was feeling pretty good and was feeling like we were going to win this game.
Unfortunately, that feeling came to a crashing halt in the second quarter. The Aussies battled back and tied the game at 5. From there, it was back and forth and we were down by a couple at half-time. Again, it wasn't an insurmountable lead, and we had to get back in it one goal at a time. However, that didn't happen and Australia kept on scoring. Gewas and I hardly touched the ball in the second half and our scoring opportunities dwindled. We did get some goals from other guys, but it wasn't enough. Final score Iroquois 5, Australia 17.
Our chances for a medal were over. We had come so far, to only be denied. It was a horrible feeling after that game. I looked around our huddle and saw many upset faces. We wanted this game bad. After the game, Oren Lyons talked to us about the future. He talked of the youth teams that will supplement this team in four years. He talked of what we need to do in the future to get better. We will get better. We all left the locker room knowing that the Iroquois Nationals will be a top competitor in Australia in 2002. I am hoping to be a member of that team, if not as a player, then on the coaching staff. Either way, I want to be a part of that team.
Well, we got to play USA today, live on National TV. Looking back on the game, I wish it wasn't on TV. We didn't do a thing in the first half, and the USA played the best game that they've had all tournament. They jumped out to an 11-goal lead at half time and the game was all but over. We went into the third quarter with a few goals in mind: to get better, and to play with pride and most importantly, to never give up. I think we did this in the second half, and we played a little better. However it wasn't enough to dethrone the USA. Final score Iroquois 4, USA 24.
We will now face Australia for the Bronze medal on Friday. They lost to Canada earlier tonight. This is our first chance for a medal and even though we were beat bad tonight, we know that we can make history on Friday.
Had a walk through this morning to prepare for Japan. We know that they are a diligent team that likes to control the ball. They hustle on every ground ball, and work extremely hard on defense. They gave us a couple of good games in Manchester, and they have improved. Right now they are 5 -0 coming into today's game. We NEED this win.
Well, we didn't play our best lacrosse tonight. However, we did come away with a win. I have to give Japan a lot of credit. They played extremely hard and kept on coming at us. They did everything we thought they'd do, control the ball, hustle, not get tired, etc. It was actually exciting to see the fight they put up. They have a group of guys with an incredible amount of heart and desire.
We came out extremely flat, and it showed. Japan scored first and it seemed to sway the crowd in their direction. However, we tied it up and from there it was a back and forth game. We had a good second quarter, scoring 5 to their 2 and held a 6 -3 lead at the half. This margin turned out to be enough as we matched goals in the second half and pulled out the victory. In the end, we were just too strong for them on offense, and in general. Physically we were much bigger than they were and I think that had a factor as well.
I finished the game with 2 goals and 2 assists. So far I've been able to put some goals in and I'm pretty happy with the way I've adjusted to the switch to attack. We now will be playing USA for the Semi-Final game of the playoffs. This is the farthest an Iroquois team has ever gone. Another shot at USA. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
Today was our day off. We had a bye due to our previous schedule. Watched the USA -vs- Canada game. It was a good game. I thought Canada was going to pull it off. They jumped out to an early lead, and it looked bad for the USA. However, they battled back, and ended up winning.
The big one was today, we played USA at 5:00. It was the earliest that they would play during this tournament and we were hoping that the heat would help us. We started off strong and kept the game close early on. It was 2 -2 after the first period, and 7 -5 at halftime. We were very patient with the ball, and I think this frustrated them a lot. However, they were not playing the typical pressure defense that is customary of a USA lacrosse team. Instead, they were playing the style used by Coach Tierney at Princeton. This allowed us to possess the ball for a good amount of time in the first half.
The second half saw the US squad turn up the heat and pump in some goals to pull away from us for a decisive win. They outscored us 6 - 1 in the fourth quarter. We played well I thought, however we were tired. It was our fourth straight game and we'd felt the effects of playing at 5:00 every day. I am banged up, and ready for a day off tomorrow. This tourney is tough on your body, especially playing on the turf. We'll need the day off tomorrow to recuperate and get ready for what looks like a matchup with Japan for the "play-in" game on Tuesday the 21. We'll need that win to advance to the medal rounds.
Well today we played Canada, probably our fiercest rival. The reason I say this, is that many of our guys play box with and against most of the guys on the Canada team. Needless to say, this game brings about bragging rights. Unfortunately, Canada will have more to brag about. They jumped on us early and dominated the face-offs throughout the game. Canada went into halftime with a 12 -2 lead. We didn't have many offensive opportunities and when we did, we didn't do a good job of finishing them. It was a frustrating game, and even though we took our lumps, we're still feeling that we can win a medal these games. Final score Iroquois 8, Canada 23.
Woke up this morning and had a "walk-through" to prepare for England. We plan on controlling the ball, and trying to maintain a steady level of play for four quarters.
After practice I went up and checked out some of the other games, and the "Fan-Fest" area. It's pretty cool to see teams like Wales, Germany, and the Czech Republic playing lacrosse. The games were hard fought that I watched and overall were well played.
Well, we BEAT England!!!! Finally, after all this time, we got our first BIG International victory in what was one of the best games so far in the tourney. Rex Lyons scored the winning goal with 15 seconds left in the game. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE FEELING!!! The crowd was going wild. WE were going wild. It was great. This win puts us in position to play for a medal now. The first time EVER that an Iroquois team could possibly do so. We were making history.
The game was a wild one with us holding a 6-4 halftime lead. However, England came out strong in the second half and managed to tie the game at 9 after three periods. The fourth quarter saw both teams exchange plenty of shots, however the goalies stayed tough and denied any scoring until the final seconds of the game. It was then that attackman Rex Lyons picked up a rebound and jammed it past the England goalie to seal our first win of the tournament, and a chance to move into the medal round. Final score Iroquois 10, England 9.
Today we played Australia at 5:00. I believe we earned some respect in this game by playing them tough and only allowing them 13 goals. However, we missed some excellent opportunities to score, and lost 13 - 9. It was a great game, and we had several leads throughout the first half, but when it came down to the wire, we just couldn't tie the game.
I scored the game's first goal off of a rebound from a shot by Owen Benedict. The ball popped up into the air, and I came around from behind the goal, and put it away for the score. From there, we exchanged goals and at the end of the first period, we held a 4 - 3 lead. We were feeling pretty good about our game plan and the way we were coming together.
The second period saw Australia outscore us 3 -1 to take a 6 -5 lead into halftime. At halftime we discussed what we need to do to win the game. We felt we needed to control the ball and dictate the tempo of the game. Traditionally in these games we have a tendency to have a letdown in the second half. It may be due to the fact that we don't have many practices together, therefore we suffer in terms of not being in shape.
We came out a little flat in the third, and Australia again outscored us, this time 4 - 2 and after three periods we were down 10 -7. We still weren't discouraged at this point and knew that 3 goals wasn't an insurmountable lead. We just needed to move the ball, and play good defense. This always sounds easier than it is.
The fourth quarter was more of the same type of game. We missed some good opportunities, and they capitalized on a couple of extra man situations to seal the win. It was a hard fought game and I was extremely upset with the loss. I finished the game with 2 goals and 2 assists, not a bad start for a guy who's not used to playing attack.
We've come a long way since the '94 games. We will win some games this year. Tomorrow we play England at 5:00.
The opening ceremony was held after our game. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE CEREMONY. This is my 5th World Games, 3 as a player, and 2 as a coach of the Under 19 team, and I can say this is one of the most impressive opening ceremonies. There was a demonstration of traditional lacrosse, the way it was played by my ancestors. Also, some youth teams did a demonstration of modern lacrosse, all the while there was a narrator talking about the origins of the game. One of the amazing things was the replication of the statue in front of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. There were two men, painted the same color as the statue (a bronze-type color) who remained almost perfectly still throughout the ceremony. They would periodically change their position, but all in all they remained still. It was amazing, and I know the crowd really appreciated it.
Practice was scheduled for 7:00 pm at Skaneateles High School. Coach Doctor had set up a scrimmage with a team consisting of Skaneateles High School alumni. We had one of the best turnouts for this practice that we've had to date. I was excited to see nearly all of our players there, however we were still missing some of our top players yet again.
The other team showed up a bit late, and we didn't end up starting until after 8:00 p.m. We started off pretty good with Cam Bomberry scoring on a "blast" from the left side of the cage. The scoring was fast and furious from there with Cam pumping in another 3 goals and some of our other middies finding the net as well. I finished the game with 2 goals and 3 assists and felt pretty good about it. Our defense looked good also, holding them to only about 5 shots in the first quarter. We ended up only playing three quarters, due to the time. We had a sizable lead and felt we had gotten as much as we could from this scrimmage.
As well as I thought we played, we still aren't playing at the level necessary to earn a medal at the world games. This is probably due to the fact that we haven't had one practice with our full team there. The good thing is that we'll have 3 days in Baltimore together to develop some of the aspects of our game that will be important to our success. Every team we play has probably practiced a lot more than we have and it will be up to us as to how hard we work. Hopefully most of our team has been running and will be ready for the heat and humidity that is typical in Baltimore during the summer. The temperature on the Hopkins turf can reach as high as 110 degrees and the humidity makes it even worse. I am looking forward to being in Baltimore in less than 2 weeks. Hopefully we'll surprise some teams and come away with a medal.
The next time I write, it'll be from my dorm room at Johns Hopkins!
My brothers, Mark and Dan, and I drove to Homer, NY for our game with Reebok. We arrived around 11:15 for what was supposed to be a practice, however many of our players were late. We ended up not practicing before the game and by 1:00 we were ready to play. The game started off a bit slow for us with a few players trying to shake off the "jitters" so they could just settle in and play ball. Reebok jumped out to a 3 -1 lead that we soon tied on a goal by Neal Powless (Nazareth College). After the first quarter, we all seemed to relax a lot and start to play "our" game. Pat Solomon was in the goal for us and he was hot. He made some great saves to keep us in it, while some of our defenders did a nice job of keeping Reebok away from the cage. However, Reebok has some outstanding players that can score at any time, and they quickly built their lead up to around 4 or 5 by halftime.
The second half saw the Iroquois Nationals come together and put together an impressive run both offensively and defensively to bring the game within a goal. However, late in the third quarter Mother Nature did not cooperate and the game was called due to severe lightning storms in the area. After the game we met to discuss our future practices and when/where we would meet. Again the Box Lacrosse schedule seems to be hampering our chances for success. Many of our guys have strong commitments to their teams and it will be hard for them to make practice. This is frustrating to a lot of us who make nearly every practice and who really want to put on a good showing at the World Games. However, it is something that we have to deal with, and we're all very optimistic about this year's games. We meet again in 2 weeks where I believe we're trying to set up a game before the annual Collegiate North-South game at Nazareth College. I'll write more as soon as I get the information.
I jumped in my car around 8:30 this morning and began the 5 hour drive to Syracuse for what I consider one of our first "real" practices. The reason I say "real" is that we have narrowed the squad down, and the players that will represent us are the ones we will practice with for the next 2 months.
I arrived at Lafayette High school (which is just south of Syracuse) around 3:15 along with my brother Dan. We were the first players to arrive and shortly after the parking lot began filling with other members of the team. At first it was like some class reunion, lots of handshakes, hugs, and high fives. I did notice that many of our "star" players were not here and probably wouldn't make tomorrow's game. One of the factors we have to compete with is that many of our players compete in the box lacrosse leagues on their reservations. Their game schedule is demanding and it's hard for them to make weekend practices. This has been an issue that has always plagued the Iroquois Nationals and probably has to do with some of our losses in previous World Games.
We were met by the coaching staff, which consists of Ron Doctor (Head Coach at Skaneateles High School), his assistant Dave Pittard, and Reggie Thorpe (assistant coach at Lafayette High School and former Syracuse University defenseman).
We ran through the usual practice drills; fast breaks, line drills, etc. We then finished practice with some man-up and man-down drills to prepare for the game tomorrow. It was a good practice and we were all pretty excited to play against Reebok tomorrow.
After practice we had some paperwork to fill out and as we were all standing around I had a chance to actually take a look at our team and who they were. I couldn't help but notice that this year's team is a lot different than any team we've had in the past. One thing that is different is that there is a majority of our players that have college lacrosse experience. We have players that have played at outstanding colleges such as Cornell, Syracuse, Loyola, Hobart, Potsdam, and Wesley to name a few. I have been a member of the Iroquois team for 2 World Championships, and have coached the Under-19 team in two World Championship tournaments, and I can honestly say that we are much more experienced field players than ever before. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's game with Reebok!!!
|Scott Burnam is the Head Lacrosse Coach at Wesley College. He is a member of the Mohawk Nation. He and his brothers Mark and Dan all played Division I lacrosse and have all been members of the Iroquois National team in the last tree World Games. Scott, who graduated and played at Cornell was Captain of the team and the MVP in the 1994 games in Japan. He has also coached the under-19 team in Japan ('96) and on Long Island ('92). |