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Jewish Journal

An Israel sports success story: lacrosse

by Hillel Kuttler, JTA

July 15, 2014 | 10:16 am

<em>Israel (Kyle Bergman) vs. Ireland, Photo credit: Larry Palumbo/Coyote Magic Action Shots)</em>

Israel (Kyle Bergman) vs. Ireland, Photo credit: Larry Palumbo/Coyote Magic Action Shots)

Israel may not have qualified to play in soccer’s World Cup, but it’s doing quite well in another international sports competition.

Israel’s national team continued its dominating play in the World Lacrosse Championships, advancing to the second round with an 18-9 victory over Ireland on Monday afternoon in Denver.

Its next game will be Tuesday morning against Germany, which defeated the Czech Republic, 9-5. Tuesday’s victor will advance to the quarterfinals.

Israel was paced Monday by Lee Coopersmith’s five goals and two each by Cody Levine, Daniel Leventhal, Noah Miller and Benjamin Smith. Matthew Cherry contributed three assists. Goaltender Henry Altschuler earned the win, playing the first 60 minutes.

Over the weekend, Israel swept its three preliminary-round, “pool play” games in decisive fashion, defeating Sweden, 19-4; Solvakia, 17-2; and South Korea, 19-2.

“We knew we had a good squad, and we’re playing pretty well,” Scott Neiss, Israel Lacrosse’s executive director, said following Monday’s win.

By the close of play Monday, Israel was one of the final eight teams remaining of the 38 that began the tournament. The world’s top six teams — the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, England and the Iroquois Nation — are playing in their own group, known as the Blue Pool, with the top two teams automatically jumping to the semifinals and the third and fourth teams to the quarterfinals.

Should Israel finish among the top six teams in Denver, it would be slotted in the prestigious Blue Pool for the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships, which will be played in Manchester, England.

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