Stephen Kelly and Calvert Hall grad and USA captain Rob Zoppo… (Photo submitted by Stephen…)
Calvert Hall lacrosse standout Stephen Kelly is in Turku, Finland this month as a member of the U.S. under-19 men’s national team, which is competing in the Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 men’s world championships. The U.S. has won all six titles since the tournament began in 1988. Kelly, a two-time first-team All-Metro midfielder, will share his experiences with a daily blog as he tries to bring home a gold medal.
Hello everyone! It is morning here in Turku, Finland and the team has just finished up a light walk through practice and film session to get ready for the biggest game yet against the Canadians. The team feels more than ready and up to the challenge, and it should be a great game.
Yesterday, the team had our first game against the Australians, which turned out to be a big win for us. Yesterday morning the team also had a film session and walk through practice to get ourselves completely prepped to face the Aussies. After the early morning activities many of the guys, including me, took long naps before we had to head out to the field, as many of us are still getting used to the time change. Feeling rested and ready to play the team took a bus over to the game field and could not wait to start our first real game together.
After a good and hard warm-up, one of the most special moments of the trip occurred. Both teams walked out onto the field and each country's national anthem was played. I know when they played the national anthem of the United States of America, I had chills and I’m sure the rest of the guys did too. It was a very extraordinary moment and only got us more fired up to play.
The team got out to a slow start but took a 5-2 lead over the Aussies after one quarter of play. In the second quarter we got a little more relaxed and went into half time with a 9-4 lead. However, it was in the second half that we really clicked and put together 15 goals to win the game 24-6 in an impressive fashion.
Many of the guys, including me, got in the scoring books, but it was Ryan Tucker who led the midfield with 3 goals and Matt Kavanagh on attack who dished out 5 assists and had 3 goals of his own. The defense, led by captain Stephen Jahelka really put together a nice outing and goalies Zach Oliveri and Kyle Turri held it down in the nets.
Overall, it was a great way for the USA to start out the games, but we know this is just the first step to achieving our goal of a gold medal. We have a real big one today against the Canucks, but we feel really prepared and cannot wait to get out there and play. I will let everyone know how the game turns out and I hope everyone keeps tuning in as we keep striving for this gold medal. Go USA!