During the U-20 Women’s European Lacrosse Championships held in Prague, Czech Republic, from July 2nd to July 9th, the Israeli Women’s U21 National Lacrosse Team showcased their skills on an international platform. As one of the top teams in Europe, these talented young women competed against formidable opponents from across the continent.
Placed in Pool B, they went head-to-head against Ireland, Scotland, and Germany before progressing to the placement rounds.
In the attacking department, Israel relied on the talents of Annabelle Gersh, Amelia Byerly, and Talya Shnit. Gersh led the team in points, scoring an impressive 15 goals and providing nine assists, placing her third overall in the tournament with 24 points. Byerly contributed 16 goals and 5 assists, accumulating 21 points and securing the fifth position in the tournament’s points ranking. Shnit, a native of LSH, performed admirably with nine goals and one assist, earning a total of ten points and placing among the top 35 point leaders.
Leading the defense was goaltender Victoria Bates, who started all five games. With a save percentage of 46%, she made a total of 49 saves throughout the tournament.
Their campaign began with a challenging match against Ireland in the pool play, resulting in a 17-7 defeat. The game’s MVP was Victoria Bates, who made 12 saves and achieved a 41% save average. Talya Shnit led the offense with three goals.
In their second game against Scotland, Israel faced another tough loss with a score of 20-10. The game’s MVP was Amelia Byerly, who scored five goals. Both Victoria Bates and Eden Chajmovic played in goal, achieving save percentages of 28% and 36% respectively. Israel outperformed Scotland in draw controls, winning 16 out of 17, with Annabelle Gersh securing 14 of those wins.
In the final pool play game, Israel encountered Germany in a tightly contested match that ended with a one-goal margin. Amelia Byerly contributed significantly with five goals and one assist, earning her the game’s MVP. Talya Shnit also made an impact with one goal and a 50% success rate in draws. Unfortunately, Germany scored in the final possession with 45 seconds remaining, resulting in Israel falling short with a 9-8 defeat.
In the playoffs, Israel faced Poland. The team excelled in draw controls, with Annabelle Gersh leading the way and earning the MVP title for Israel with two goals, four assists, and 14 draw controls. Victoria Bates performed admirably in goal, making 10 saves of 23 shots faced. Despite a close contest, Poland managed to score two late goals, securing an 11-13 victory.
In their final game of the European Championship, Israel competed against Spain for 10th place. Spain took an early lead, reaching 4-0 after 13 minutes. Annabelle Gersh responded with two consecutive goals, narrowing the gap to 4-2. The teams battled closely throughout the second half, frequently exchanging goals. In the final five minutes, both Amelia Byerly and Annabelle Gersh scored, putting Israel ahead with a score of 10-8. However, in the last minute, Spain managed to score, ending the game with a close 10-9 victory for Israel. This win marked Israel’s first triumph in the tournament and secured them 10th place in Europe.