Road to Gold in Finland: U.S. hoping to avenge loss to Iroquois Nation

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.

Hello everyone! The last couple days have been very eventful, with a lot of things taking shape for the team. Two days ago, we had a game against the Iroquois Nation, which did not turn out how we wanted it to at all. We came out really strong, moving the ball well and taking a 4-0 lead quickly in the first quarter.

However, after some back and fourth play we took an 8-6 lead into half time. It was the beginning of the second half where we fell apart some, and the Iroquois got momentum, scoring the next four goals unanswered. It was back and forth from there and the game finished with the Iroquois winning 15-13.

It was a very tough loss and we were very upset after the game, but we still knew we had a very good chance of winning the gold medal. After having a team dinner with the parents at a restaurant in the city, the team came back and had a players-only meeting for about two hours, which has made our team closer than we have ever been. We worked out a lot of the problems that were happening during the game and each person chimed in giving ideas and thoughts on how to be the best we can be.

It was a great step for our team and yesterday we showed it, pouring it on Germany, 22-2, setting ourselves up to play the Iroquois once again in the semifinals today. The team played very well together against Germany and all across board came out with a lot of energy.

After the game, we met a lot of the German guys, who were all very nice across the board. I even met a kid named Anton, who is coming to live in Maryland next year to play lacrosse.

Later that night we got to go out with the parents again and I went out with fellow teammate Mike Tagliaferri’s family as well as mine to get some Italian food. It felt good to get a big plate of pasta in me and after, a big chocolate ice cream. After a great dinner and time with the family, the team met back at the headquarters, where we watched film for an hour on the Iroquois, getting ready for today’s game.

This morning, we all got to go to the Radisson, the hotel where most of the parents are staying, to get a really good breakfast. It was awesome to get a good breakfast in us and now we are waiting and getting ready for the game at 8 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Eastern).

The team is very amped to play and can’t wait to take back what is ours. It should be a great atmosphere tonight and I will let everyone know how we do. Once again, thanks for tuning in and go USA!

-- Stephen

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