England bests Israel in Herzliya, 12-5

HERZLIYA, ISRAEL — England topped Israel 12-5 at Herzliya Synthetics on Saturday in the fourth game in five days between the two sides.

With the series in hand for England, Israel came out hungry for a win and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the opening quarter, but England took control from there, scoring 10 goals in the second and third quarters, including two four-goal runs. The loss makes Israel 0-4 for the tour with England that started Wednesday in Kiryat Gat and ends Sunday in Netanya, the host city of the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in July.

Matthew Popeck led Israel with two goals, with Alexander Rabin, Ryan Hunter and Marc Skolnick each adding one. Max Kaufman tallied Israel’s only assist of the game.

England’s Josh Sherry-Brennan notched a hat trick, leading his team in goals. Other scorers included Jake Parker, Zac Guy, Ryan Hunns, Sam Russell, James Ready, Will Hardy, Sam Patterson and Elliot Leonard. Guy chipped in three assists, while Hunns added another and Alex Russell posted two.

Israel and England both worked their bench gaining valuable experience for several U-19 and U-23 call-ups who shined on the field for the top two squads in Europe.

“We started off strong and wanted to work in some different personnel,” said team captain Seth Mahler. “We wanted to get some practice time for some guys who we really need to catch up to speed. It really wasn’t about the score today. It was more about us and getting better.”

An area Israel will want to tighten is turnovers. The Blue and White turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter, which aided England in outscoring Israel 5-1 in those 20 minutes. Israel finished with 14 turnovers.

England head coach Tom Wenham said the ride is something his team has needed to improve on, and seeing his team successfully pressure Israel’s back line into mistakes was encouraging.

“We’ve talked a lot about how we want our defense to start as soon as the opposition gains possession,” Wenham said. “Some legs are starting to go and people are getting tired, so when you put the ride on and begin to apply that pressure, it’s more and more challenging for the clearing team to get the ball up and over.”

At the World Championships in three months, Israel will be forced to play several games in as many days, similar to what the team is going through now in this exhibition series. Mahler said he thinks the learning experience that the team can take away from this for the future is more important than the scorelines.

“To play five games in five days is a great replication of what the Worlds will be,” Mahler said. “To do it against a top-five team in England, we couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”

Still, the competitive spirit in the Israelis will want a win in Sunday’s showdown at Shapira Field in Netanya at 10 a.m., especially with the healthy rivalry both teams have seemed to embrace.

“I want to win every game, but I think tomorrow it’s huge,” Popeck said. “The local communities are coming out to every game, and we love them for that. These games might be exhibitions and the scoreline might not matter, but it would be nice to let these fans see a win.”

Additional caps (England) – Joe Baythorpe, Tom Brook, Tom Bracegirdle, Jak Wawrzyniak, Dan Smith, Tommy Kirkland, Josh Hurry, Alistair Bermen, Hal Dwobeng, Willy Baxter

Additional caps (Israel) – Eric Fischer, Sean Wright, Seth Mahler, Sam Adler, Harel Ben Harush, Lidor Ashtamkar, Franklin Pargh, Sam Kramer, Micah Stalarow, Peter Moran, Matthew Flapan, Kyle Bergman, Jonathan Rathauser, Ori Bar David, Chris Friedman, Niles Miller, Bar Yahalom, Andrew Kruter, Andrew Landsman, Ted Bergman

Israel Men’s National Team Spring Tour
Sat, Apr 7 in New York, NY- New York Athletic Club 13, Israel 12 (OT) – Recap
Sun, Apr 8 in Hewlett, NY – New York Lizards 23, Israel 6 – Recap
Wed, Apr 11 in Kiryat Gat, Israel – England 7, Israel 6 – Recap
Thu, Apr 12 in Jerusalem, Israel – England 8, Israel 6 – Recap
Fri, Apr 13 in Ashkelon, Israel – England 11, Israel 10 – Recap
Sat, Apr 14 in Herzliya, Israel – England 12, Israel 5
Sun, Apr 15 at 10:00 AM – Israel vs England – (Shapira Field – Netanya, Israel)
Sat, Apr 21 at 8:00 PM – Israel vs Germany – (Sportpark Ostra – Dresden, Germany)
Sun, Apr 22 at 11:00 AM – Israel vs Germany – (Sportpark Ostra – Dresden, Germany)
*Schedule is subject to change