Yalla Israel! Blue-and-white stifle Wales in Semis

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY — The Israel men’s national team clinched a program-first Medal in dominating fashion in a 10-3 win over Wales in the Semifinals of the 2016 ELF European Lacrosse Championships, which are being held at Szent István University in Budapest, Hungary, from July 28-August 6.

The Israelis took an early 2-0 advantage on quick goals from Daniel Leventhal at 2:15 and Caleb Brodie at 3:36. The blue-and-white led 5-0 at the half and 6-0 in the third quarter before Eoin Dunne finally put Wales on the board at the 46-minute-mark.

The blue-and-white scored four more in a row to lead 10-1 in the fourth quarter, and cruised to victory.

Israel (7-0) meets England (7-0) in a battle of two juggernauts in the Gold Medal Game on Saturday (time TBD). England, the defending European champs, rolled past previously-undefeated Finland, 14-1, in the other semifinal on Thursday.

2016 ELF European Lacrosse Championship Bracket
2016 ELF European Lacrosse Championship Bracket

The day is a historic one for the Israel Lacrosse Association, in that the blue-and-white are guaranteed at worst a Silver Medal. Israel has never finished better than fourth in a major quadrennial championship event.

However, the Israelis are not just happy to be there. The Gold Medal Game is expected to be a memorable finale to an exciting European Championship.

The two teams last met at the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, with England prevailing in a 10-9 overtime win. England jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never trailed, but the Israelis gave them all they could handle. The only other previous meeting was a one-goal England win as well, in an exhibition game ahead of the 2014 Worlds.

Matthew Cherry (one goal, four assists) and Kyle Bergman (three goals, one assist) led Israel over Wales on Thursday, while Ian Kadish (two goals, one assist) and Leventhal (two goals) also had a big day. Caleb Brodie and Noah Miller added singles.

Eric Fischer (76:38, 8 saves, 2 GA) earned the win in goal for Israel while Andrew Landsman, who finished the game in net, allowed one goal.

Rhordi Stanford led Wales with one goal and one assist. Dunne and Paul Simpson added singles, with James Richardson (80:00, 15 saves, 10 GA) playing admirably in goal for Wales.

Caps – Kyle Bergman, Joshua Bernstein, Caleb Brodie, Matthew Cherry, Aaron Feinberg, Eric Fischer, Christopher Friedman, Max Gradinger, Jesse Hartman, Ian Kadish, Eric Kansky, Jacob Kane, Yochanan Katz, Andrew Landsman, Daniel Leventhal, Seth Mahler, Noah Miller, Jacob Milner, Zachary Ornstein, Jonathan Rathauser, Alex Siegel, Jacob Silberlicht, Glen Tobin

Official Boxscore

Thu, Jul 28 – Israel 9, Switzerland 2
Fri, Jul 29 – Israel 17, Spain 1

Sun, Jul 31 – Israel 17, Belgium 4
Mon, Aug 1 – Israel 12, Slovenia 0
Tue, Aug 2 – Israel 16, Sweden 6

Wed, Aug 3 – Israel 8, Germany 4 (Quarterfinals)
Thu, Aug 4 – Israel 10, Wales 3 (Semifinals)
Sat, Aug 6 at TBD – Israel vs England (Gold Medal Game)