The English weren't just fighting to remain in contention for a medal yesterday, they were battling for their lacrosse lives.
England, which has participated in every World Games along with the United States, Canada and Australia, lost its final chance to advance to the medal round, bowing to the Australians, 11-6. That means England (0-4) will finish below fourth place for the first time in the 31 years of the World Games and, as a result, could lose funding in excess of $200,000, putting further international participation at risk.
"It could have implications," said David Shuttleworth, the International Lacrosse Federation committee member in charge of development in England. "Going from fourth to fifth could have detrimental effects unless you can tell a pretty good story."
Aussies like their chances
The guys from Down Under still have their sights set on the top.
Although the Australians lost to the United States and Canada by three goals each, they understand from experience that the important games start tomorrow, when the semifinals begin. In 1994, Australia fell to the United States and Canada in the round robin, but came back to defeat the Canadians to win the silver medal.
"It certainly does remind me of 1994," said Australian midfielder Gordon Purdie, the Best Midfielder of the 1994 Games. "We're a young team and just need to put it together. We're confident we can handle anybody."
Teen enjoys German run
Germany's success has largely been attributed to its powerful attack, but American-born teen-age goalie Alex Schultes also has been instrumental.
Schultes' father was born in Germany. That made Schultes eligible to try out for the German team. At 17, he is a student at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., and is among the youngest players in the tournament.
He joined the German team last year when he was asked to try out following a student exchange trip to Germany. He did, made the team and joined his teammates for the 1997 European championships in Sweden.
Now Schultes plays for a club team in Munich and is starting in goal for the national team.
Because he has taken five years of German in school and frequently practices the language with his grandmother, he has had few problems communicating with teammates.
"It's been really fun out here," he said. "And I feel like we've really played well here. We've never won three games before."
Pub Date: 7/21/98