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.
[UPDATE: The U.S. U-19 lacrosse team defeated Canada, 10-8, in today's world championship game. Here is a post written by Stephen Kelly earlier today, before the game.]
Hello everyone! The last day and a half was pretty amazing, and the team is now in the exact position we want to be in, that being a chance to fight for a World Championship.
Two days ago we came out to play the Iroquois with loads of energy and emotion, more than ready to play. In front of a packed house with more than 1,000 fans, the team came together and pulled off a huge victory, defeating the Iroquois, 12-7, to advance to the gold medal game against Canada.
The game started with the Iroquois coming out hot taking a 3-0 lead. However, we stayed together and chipped our way back and went into halftime knotted at 5. It was the start of the second half where we really clicked, scoring the next four goals, and from there it was all USA.
Led by midfielder Steve Pontrello, who tallied 5 goals in the game, we held onto that lead.
Not only did we play with emotion, but also we had a ton of emotion on the bench, going crazy after any play that helped us. It was the most unified we felt since we have been with each other, and we are so amped to play in todays game. Words can’t describe the feeling.
Yesterday we had a good practice, getting our final preparations in to beat the Canucks, and afterwards we had the whole day to visit with our families around the city of Turku. My family, as well as a bunch of other families, went out to a steakhouse, which was an awesome dinner to have before our biggest game yet.
Last night we had a film session on the Canadians, and afterwards the team watched Miracle, only getting us more fired up to play. Also, last night a bunch of us started trading some stuff with the English, Australians, and Finns, getting some pretty cool things to help us remember this experience even more.
However, the one thing that is going to be the greatest thing to remember is having a gold medal around our necks, and that is what we set out to do today. The game is today at 4 P.M. local time (9 A.M. eastern) and we are ready to bring it home for the USA. I will let everyone know how the game goes and thanks for tuning in. Go USA!