U.S. finds groove in beating England, 16-8 Americans shake lethargy as Millon scores four goals for second straight night

July 19, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It might have taken a game and a half, but the U.S. national lacrosse team has finally shown up at the World Games.

Shaking off a lackluster first half, the United States used a 5-1 third-quarter run and a dominating fourth-quarter performance to capture a 16-8 victory over England before 8,698 at Homewood Field last night.

Attackman Mark Millon delivered the scoring heroics for a second straight night, leading the Americans with four goals, including two in the momentum-changing third quarter. That's when the United States found its scoring punch, converting on five of 11 shots.

"It's unbelievable, playing here on your home turf, but I could tell in warm-ups that there was just not enough emotion," said Millon, who had four goals in the U.S. win on Friday over Australia. "We showed it in the first half. Coach [Bill Tierney] got on us in the locker room and told us to play with some emotion and scrap some of the X's and O's."

With the game tied at 5 at halftime, the Americans scored the first three goals of the second half, including two by Millon. His right-handed crack from seven yards on an extra-man opportunity staked the United States to an 8-5 advantage with 10: 46 left in the quarter.

The Americans maintained that three-goal cushion through the third period and then took over in the fourth behind faceoff specialist Peter Jacobs, who won seven of eight draws. Scoring six times in a span of nine minutes, the United States hit from several different angles in close to roll to a 16-7 lead.

"Obviously, it had nothing to do with lacrosse; it was emotion and heart," Tierney said. "We got after them at halftime to start digging down and start understanding the magnitude of this event. There's 8,000 people in the stands. Why play in a complacent way?"

However until that point, the United States struggled and actually trailed for most of the half.

On Friday, the Americans sweated out a narrow, 13-10 victory over Australia, the 1994 World Games runner-up. But there were no excuses for sloppy play last night.

This was England, which lost to the United States in 1994 by a combined 33 goals in two games. It's a team at the bottom of the Blue Division, losing both of its previous games by an average of five goals.

Still, the Americans never took advantage of their superior talent depth until the second half. Instead, they sputtered and committed several unforced errors, ranging from inadvertent clearing passes and laziness on ground balls to not backing up shots.

That allowed the English to jump to a 5-3 lead with 9: 23 left in the second quarter.

It didn't help matters that English goalkeeper Brian Carcaterra, the Division I Goalkeeper of the Year last season at Johns Hopkins, recorded the top single-game effort of this year's World Games, stopping 29 shots.

"I needed to salvage some respect from the home crowd," said Carcaterra, who had two previous mediocre games in the tournament. "If there was any time to do it, it was now."

The United States, which scored twice in the final 7 1/2 minutes of the second quarter to tie the game at 5, began to gain more concentration after halftime and discovered some offensive rhythm for the first time.

David Curry broke the halftime tie 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter with a drive from the left side. Millon exploited the English defense two minutes after that with a dodge from the right and added an extra-man goal for a 8-5 lead midway through the third quarter.

Then came the six-goal, fourth-quarter onslaught, which included goal by defenseman Brian Voelker, Carcaterra's defensive coach at Hopkins.

"I told him that I would get one on him in the tournament, so I had to back it up," Voelker said.

Still, the Americans understand the expectations from the lacrosse community for a more complete effort despite an overwhelming advantage in shots (50-19), ground balls (50-26) and faceoffs (17 of 25).

"Everybody's gunning for us and if we don't win by 15 goals, then it's a failure," Voelker said. "We'll take the win any time we can."

England ..... 2 3 2 1 -- 8

United States 2 3 5 6 -- 16

Goals: E--Morley 3, Fullerton 2, Baythorpe, Carr, Lynch; US--Millon 4, Bill Miller 3, Curry 2, Blake Miller 2, Traynor 2, Shek, Voelker, Wade. Assists: E--Carr 2, Baythorpe, Hodgson, A.Mitchell, Talbot; US--Lowe 4, Lockwood 2, Curry, Hubbard. Saves: E--B.Carcaterra 29, Savage 0; US--Dougherty 13.

Pub Date: 7/19/98

U.S. today

Opponent: Iroquois Nation (1-2)

When: 5 p.m.

TV: None

Series: United States leads, 2-0

Last meeting: United States won, 26-6, in 1994 world championships round-robin game.

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