Israel comeback falls short; England clinches series with 10-9 win

ASHKELON, ISRAEL — Israel fell 10-9 in the third installment of its five-game series against England at Sala Stadium in Ashkelon on Friday.

The Blue and White started the game flat, falling behind 8-1 after allowing six-straight English goals in the second quarter. An unassisted score from midfielder Jake Silberlicht in the final minute of the half
inched Israel closer, but the team still found itself six scores behind at the break.

But halftime brought new life. Lots of players spoke up in the locker room, and the team came out hot to begin the third quarter. Within the first five minutes, Israel had drawn to within three and the comeback was on. A little more than four minutes into the fourth quarter, attackman Sean Wright rounded off a hat trick to tie the game at eight.

With thousands of screaming fans in attendance and many more watching at home on Sport5, Israel used the pressure as motivation during the break.

“We talked about how we need to give all our energy to show the fans and to show the Israelis watching on television that we’re a good team,” said midfielder Ori Bar David about the halftime talk.

The game’s last 15 minutes were intense, with both teams trading blows, penalties and goals, until England’s Tom Brook notched what would be the game-winning goal with almost five and a half minutes to play.

Wright led the game with four goals, all of which came in the second half. Silberlicht and midfielder Kyle Bergman each chipped in two, with attacker Ryan Hunter adding a goal and assist of his own. Goalie Ted Bergman warmed up as the game wore on, tallying eight of his 14 saves in the second half.

For England, Zac Guy and Josh Sherry-Brennan led the way, both contributing two goals to the cause. Ryan Sweetman, Elliot Leonard, Will Hardy, Ryan Hunns, Alex Russell and Brook all each added one, rounding out a balanced scoring attack.

The win clinches England a series win over Israel in the five-game slate. The team will play the two remaining friendlies on Saturday night in Herzliya and Sunday morning in Netanya, as both squads are in the midst of preparing for the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships which are held in Netanya.

Although the wins and losses haven’t turned out in Israel’s favor, the team is still taking plenty of positives from the games, including Friday’s

“The fact that we got it to 8-8, and then 9-9 at one point, that’s a credit to us,” Hunter said of Friday’s second-half effort. “We didn’t finish the job, but I think there’s a lot to come out of this game with.”

Friday’s final marks another nail-biter between the two sides after one-goal and two-goal games Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The intensity has ramped up by the day, and it’s clear to anyone watching a rivalry is in full bloom.

“I’m completely aware of the rivalry,” said England head coach Tom Wenham. “That’s an inevitable byproduct of the fact that these two teams are now the two best teams in Europe. What’s been great about the games is although they have been intense, although they have been physical, they’ve been played the right way. Just two teams going hard and doing what they can to perform and win games.”

England and Israel will meet again Saturday at 8 p.m. at Herzliya Synethics before the final meeting of the series Sunday at 10 a.m. at Shapira Field in Netanya.

Additional caps – Eric Fischer, Seth Mahler, Yochanan Katz, Sam Adler, Harel Ben Harush, Alexander Rabin, Marc Skolnick, Franklin Pargh, Peter Moran, Matthew Flapan, Matthew Popeck, Max Kaufman, Ori Bar David, Chris Friedman, Niles Miller, Eric Cantor, Andre Kruter, Max Adler, Sam Kramer, 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
Sat, Apr 14 at 8:00 PM – Israel vs England – (Herzliya Synthetics – Herzliya, Israel)
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