July 13, 2012

U.S. Opens U19 World Games With 24-6 Win Over Australia

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

TURKU, Finland – The U.S. under-19 men's national team started off slow, but didn't take long to build a comfortable lead in its first game at the 2012 FIL U19 World Championships, beating Australia 24-6 on a sunny Friday evening in southwest Finland.

Matt Kavanagh led Team USA with three goals and three assists, tallying five points in the first half, as the U.S. (1-0) improved to 37-0 all-time in sanctioned U19 international competition.

Australia (0-1) took early leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Charlie Raffa scored off a faceoff win with 11:33 left in the opening quarter to put the U.S. ahead 3-2 and it never trailed from there. Joey Leonard scored with 2:40 left in the first half to give the U.S. a 9-4 lead and start a 9-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter.

Kyle Keenan finished with four goals, and Leonard, Daniel Eipp and Ryan Tucker each had hat tricks. The U.S. outscored Australia 14-2 in the second half and won 20 of 25 faceoffs for the game.

"The boys settled in after the first quarter and started sharing the ball a little bit more," Team USA coach Tim Flynn said. "We had a little adrenaline pumping in the first quarter and everyone was just trying to take the ball to the cage. ... The boys kind of fixed that on their own, and it's a good result."

In earlier pool play action Friday, Germany beat Wales, 20-10, Scotland downed Korea, 16-4, and the Iroquois clobbered England, 24-4.

The U.S. faces Canada at 7 p.m. (noon EST) Saturday in Turku in a rematch of the last three U19 world championship games. Check back to LaxMagazine.com for a live game blog.

"We said in the huddle we're going to enjoy this win for a little but we gotta look forward to [Saturday] night," Kavanagh said. "It's the biggest game of our lives so far."

2012 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championships

Blue Division

USA 5 4 7 8 - 24
AUS 2 2 0 2 – 6

Goals: USA – Keenan 4, Kavanagh 3, Eipp 3, Tucker 3, Leonard 3, Pontrello 2, Raffa 2, Kelly 1, Zoppo 1, D'Agostino 1, Buczek 1; AUS – Thompson 2, Polkinghorne 1, Cahill 1, Simpson 1, Kennedy 1

Assists: USA – Kavanagh 3, Eipp 1, Tagliaferri 1, Kelly 1, Zoppo 1; AUS – Polkinghorne 1;

Saves: USA - Oliveri 5, Turri 4; AUS – Lee 7, Cox 1

Follow LaxMagazine.com/teamusa/u19men and LaxMagazine.com editor Corey McLaughlin on Twitter @Corey_McL for updates throughout the FIL U19 World Championships.

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