Player pool impresses at Women’s World Team trials

BE’ER SHEVA, ISRAEL — 44 women took the turf in the sweltering heat of the Negev desert last week, vying for a roster spot on the Israel national team which will compete in the 2017 FIL Women’s World Cup in London, England next summer.

The player pool was full of fresh faces as Israel looks to build a team capable of improving their 8th-place finish at 2013 Worlds. Three members of Israel’s 2015 U-19 World Team roster participated in the tryout, as 12 years separated the oldest and youngest players, who held their own playing with and against the veterans.

Despite the heat, there were many impressive moments throughout the three-day tryout as the women worked through fundamentals, small and large-sided drills, scrimmages and conditioning. The selection committee, led by head coach Lauren Paul Norris and assistant coach Kim Dubansky, looked on as the women worked hard, producing highlight-worthy plays all over the field from perfectly placed precision shots and remarkable feeds to high-pressure defensive stands and forced turnovers.

The five goalies exhibited different but active playing styles and managed remarkable saves while commanding their defenses, which made them especially exciting to watch.

Norris and Dubansky assessed the field with a somewhat hands-off approach – giving minimal direction during both skill drills and large-sided play in order to observe what the women brought to the table in terms of athleticism, stick skills, lacrosse IQ and decision-making. Norris also made sure to emphasize that it’s an honor to be a part of the Israel Lacrosse organization — not only to represent your country but also contribute to a program that is working tirelessly to spread the sport across the 69-year-old country.

Impressing her, Norris told the group at the introductory meeting, won’t happen with fancy trick shots. She is looking to put together a cohesive group of critical thinkers who work hard both on and off the field to create a positive team atmosphere and achieve the team’s goals.

Israel Lacrosse will announce their roster next month, ahead of training camps throughout the year leading into the World Cup. The team will be composed of Israeli players as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).