Over the weekend, the FIL World Lacrosse Championships came to an end. And for the fifth straight time, the United States met Canada in the final. And for only the second time, Canada went home the winner.
The Canadians defeated Team USA, 8-5, to win their third FIL World Lacrosse championship and second in three tournaments. Canada won thanks to some incredible defense, especially from goalie Dillon Ward. He stopped 10 shots in the championship game, earning him All-World goalie and MVP titles.
“The defense makes a couple great stands and Dillon Ward makes a couple great saves," said Rany Mearns, Canada's head coach. "I’m so proud and happy for our guys. They put a lot of work into this, and any time that you can end up on top, it’s a special moment.”
Canada and the US meeting for a rematch of the 2010 title game attracted plenty of attention. But the bigger story came earlier in the day in the third-place game: The Iroquois Nationals defeated perennial medal-favorite Australia, 16-5, to take bronze in the tournament.
This is the first time the Iroquois Nationals have medaled in the tournament and the first time the Australians have not been in the top three. In fact, the Nationals became the first team other than the US, Canada, or Australia to medal.
The success of the team rested largely on the Thompson brothers, Lyle and Jeremy, who were named to the All-World team. The Thompsons played for the University of Albany and each broke Division I lacrosse records for most points in a season. (Lyle missed the quarterfinals on Wednesday — he was attending the ESPY Awards where he was nominated for Best Male College Athlete.)
"I expected nothing less than for this team to come here and win," Lyle Thompson told LaxMagazine. "We're competing at the highest level and I think it just gets better from here for the Iroquois Nationals."
Though the Nationals’ medal is a first for the tournament and the team, the roots game of lacrosse are found in Native American culture. Lacrosse originated as a Native American sport known as stickball. While it has evolved and adapted to modern play, the Iroquois Nationals victory represents an important moment for Native American lacrosse.
Photos: Twitter/CanadaLacrosse, Twitter/iroquoisnatslax