Road to Gold in Finland: Highs and lows for the U.S. U-19 lacrosse team

Special to The Baltimore Sun

Calvert Hall lacrosse standout Stephen Kelly is in Turku, Finland this month as a member of the U.S. under-19 men’s national team, which is competing in the Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 men’s world championships.  The U.S. has won all six titles since the tournament began in 1988.  Kelly, a two-time first-team All-Metro midfielder, will share his experiences with a daily blog as he tries to bring home a gold medal.

Hey guys! The last couple days have been very eventful. The team has experienced some very high and very low moments.

Two days ago we had our huge game against Canada in front of a soldout crowd in the main stadium. It was a very hard-fought game by both teams and it eventually went into overtime after Ryan Tucker hit a shot from outside with about 30 seconds left in regulation.

In overtime we scored first, but due to international rules, it is not first goal wins. The Canadians went on to score the last three goals in OT and handed us our first loss 11-9. It was a tough loss, but our team has learned a ton from it and in the long run it is really going to help us.

Yesterday, we had about an hour meeting going over things we needed to do to get better and changes we have to make. It was really a learning experience for the team and we are still very focused on getting that gold medal.

After yesterday's meeting we got ready to play England that night. We knew the best way to rebound from a loss was to play another game and we went into the England game ready to play. We showed we were ready by pouring it on England, beating them 20-1 in an impressive fashion. Many guys got in the scoring books and overall it was a great rebound game for the team. It got us refocused on our only goal, and that is to win a gold medal.

After the game, everyone was allowed to go out to dinner with their families and all the guys were pumped about this. A bunch of guys, including my family and I, went to an amazing steak house in the city where we all had our best meal in Finland by far. It was great to connect with family for a little and have some real good tasty food in us.

Later that night I got a call from my Uncle David, also known as Dino Dave, and he gave me some words of wisdom on staying focused and keeping the eye on the prize, that gold medal. It was good to reconnect with some family back in the states and see how they were doing.

Overall, it was a great night and now the team has just woken up and is getting ready to enjoy our first day off of playing a game. We got to sleep in this morning, which was an awesome feeling, and later this afternoon we have a practice to get ourselves ready to play against the Iroquois Nation. The team is in a great position to still win the gold and I’ll fill everyone in after our game against the Iroquois.

Once again, thanks for tuning in and go USA!

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