Road to Gold in Finland: U.S. lacrosse team beats Canada for U-19 title

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 day and half have been incredible and one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I know I last left off right before we were about to play Canada in the championship game, and boy was it a good game. Our team came together more than ever before and beat the Canucks 10-8 to give the United States its 7th FIL U-19 World Lacrosse Championship.

In front of a packed house, we came swinging right from the first whistle and never looked back. Even when Canada made a run or two, we would answer right away and just played with a very high energy.

It was of the greatest feelings running onto the field and jumping into a dog pile knowing that we were world champions. Our team fought through a ton of adversity and just became a family, sticking together through the good and tough times.

After the game, we received our gold medals and the trophy and ran around the field holding the American flag high and proud, knowing we did this for the greatest country in the world.

Three guys on the team were named to the All-World team -- Ryan Tucker at midfield, Stephen Jahelka on defense, and Matt Kavanagh on attack. Kavanagh was also named the MVP of the tournament, which was very well deserved as he averaged almost 5 points per game.

After the closing ceremonies, the team took a load of pictures with family and friends, trying to get as many pictures as possible with the trophy. We cut down the nets from the goals, with each person taking a piece. Overall, it was so amazing to experience it first hand and is something I will never forget in my life.

Later that night all the families and friends went to the hotel where most people were staying to celebrate and have some fun. Everyone had a blast, and it was an awesome way to finish this amazing journey in Turku, Finland.

Since this is my last blog, I just want to say thanks to all my family and friends who came out to support me, especially my Pop Pop, or known to many as Senator Kelly, for encouraging me and always supporting me in everything I do. I must say I made 22 new best friends on this team and nothing can ever replace this whole entire journey.

Thanks everyone for reading about my experience, and go USA!

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