Goalies Under Siege During Day One of World Lacrosse Super Sixes

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

U.S. goalie Jack Kelly looks to make an outlet after one of his 11 saves in a 17-16 win over Canada in the World Lacrosse Super Sixes exhibition at Tierney Field.


BOX SCORES

SPARKS, Md. — Jack Kelly dropped to his knees to make the save. The stop on a breakaway helped seal a 17-16 win over Canada in the U.S. men’s team’s World Lacrosse Super Sixes opener Saturday at Tierney Field.

The victory held extra significance for Kelly, who made his return to professional lacrosse this summer with the Redwoods after a three-year absence from complications with ACL surgery. Super Sixes is Kelly’s first international competition since the 2018 world championship in Israel, where injured his left knee while playing for the U.S. against Australia.

“It was a blast,” said Kelly, who finished with 11 saves.

The goalie who led the NCAA in saves and save percentage his senior year at Brown seems to relish the nonstop action of Sixes, a new 6v6 field lacrosse discipline World Lacrosse has developed with the Olympics in mind. “I like volume,” Kelly said in an interview this summer after his first USA Lacrosse Sixes evaluation camp.

Given the rules of the format — eight-minute running quarters, 30-second shot clock and shortened field — goalies will get plenty of it. Canada’s Dillon Ward walked off the field Saturday with ice bags taped to his left shin and right knee.

The ability to focus on the moment at hand gets put to an even greater test with no draws during quarters. After a goal is scored, the goalie retrieves the ball and immediately puts it back in play. In 193 minutes of game play Saturday, there were 187 goals scored — nearly a goal per minute.

“Can you forget what just went in and make a clean clear? Can you play that ground ball?” said U.S. women’s team goalie Madison Doucette, who made eight saves in a 19-9 win over the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. “You’re going to see so many more shots, you need to have that next shot mindset.”

“You have to think of it almost like backyard lacrosse,” U.S. men’s goalie Adam Ghitelman said. “You're going to get scored on and make saves, and that's the beauty of it.”







The new format also allows for experimentation. Few are more willing to do so than Ghitelman, who earlier this year co-founded Re-Lax Sports Company with a mission to inspire environmental and economic sustainability in the lacrosse world. His entrance at practice Friday night turned heads for another reason. Most heard him coming before they saw him. As he jogged out onto the turf to warm up at Tierney Field, the white, red and blue CCM youth hockey goalie leg pads he sported squeaked with each step.

“I feel like in a new game with new rules, maybe there’s an opportunity to try something new for the goalie which clearly the game impacts the most,” said Ghitelman, who, fittingly, purchased the pads online after participating in USA Lacrosse’s Lake Placid Sixes evaluation camp.

On the first live shot he faced in a 2v2 drill, Ghitelman thrust his left leg out. The ball hit the pad with a thud. “Kick save and beauty,” one of his teammates said.

By the next drill, however, Ghitelman had ditched the extra protection after Skip Lichtfuss, USA Lacrosse’s director of national teams and high performance, doubled checked the World Lacrosse rulebook for Sixes.

“Shin guards (soccer/football style) compression shorts or pants that conform to the body with or without pads are optional,” reads rule 2.4.3 under the “Personal Equipment” section on page 15. “With the exception of the Goalkeeper’s Stick, all equipment worn by a Goalkeeper must be constructed solely for the purpose of protection of the Player’s head and body and must not include anything that would assist the Goalkeeper in stopping the ball.”

Ghitelman did not require much assistance in the final game of opening night, registering eight saves in a 16-11 win over the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to improve the U.S. men’s team record to 2-0 on the day.

He also proved the impulse purchase wasn’t a complete loss, rolling up his navy-blue sweatpants to reveal a small black attachment he got from the CCM hockey pads and conforms to his lower shin.

“If I can not hesitate to throw out my leg, that’s the difference in a save sometimes,” Ghitelman said.

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Syracuse speedster Sam Swart served as co-captain for the U.S. women in the World Lacrosse Super Sixes event Saturday at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md.

SPEED KILLS

When U.S. women’s team speedster Sam Swart was looking for a new pair of cleats after she exhausted the mileage on her fluorescent yellow and orange Nikes, longtime Syracuse equipment manager Kyle Fetterly had the answer. He presented Swart with a pair of low-cut Nikes with equally bold blue and orange graphics.

These match your personality and your style of play, Fetterly told her.

“I thought they said P.F. Chang’s at first, but they actually say, ‘Phantom Skills,’” Swart explained at practice Friday. “Which means speed.”

Swart and the U.S. possess no shortage of it. The fifth-year senior midfielder who scored a career-high 41 goals last spring during the Orange’s run to the NCAA championship game looked as she was everywhere all at once Saturday. She finished with a team-high four goals in the U.S.’s 19-9 win over the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. In a complete effort, 10 different players registered a goal for the U.S., which bounced back from a 17-14 loss to Canada earlier in the day.

“We needed a game to get into the rhythm and now we are finally there,” said Swart, one of the team’s captains alongside Boston College’s Belle Smith.

After a series of costly turnovers late in the game against Canada, the young roster filled with mostly collegians seemed to find its footing against the Haudenosaunee. The Americans reeled off transition on repeat. Doucette made eight saves, including three in quick succession in the second quarter when U.S. registered a shutout.

“We love playing against ourselves because we want to push each other, but anytime you get to play another team it’s a huge opportunity that we’re grateful for,” Doucette said. “It makes it more fun and lets us bond as a team. We’re also fighting for the name on the front of our jersey, and that’s something to take pride in.”

NUMBERS GAME

Kelly compared Sixes to basketball but said it’s way faster paced. Fans were treated to a buzzer beater in the first men’s game of the day between Canada and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. After Jeff Teat was pushed out bounds along the end line to force a turnover, Brendan Bomberry launched a clearing pass to Nkon Thompson, who scored from deep off-stick side past Drake Porter to tie the game at 16.

Teat, however, got the final word. On Canada’s first possession of overtime, the Premier Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year took charge, driving from the top of the offensive zone and finishing with a twister shot for the win.

“It’s fast,” Teat said of the Sixes format while munching on a banana after the win. “We have a lot of exploring to do when it comes to the system, but it’s fast and it’s fun.”

Teat registered three goals and three assists against the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, then equaled that output with four goals and two assists in a one-goal loss to the U.S. Playing on Tierney Field for the second time in two weekends and just across midfield from his former college coach Peter Milliman, who now heads Johns Hopkins and the Haudenosaunee Sixes team, Teat wore the No. 51 that he donned for Big Red after wearing No. 7 this summer for Atlas.

Teat’s father, Dan, wore the number during his 13-year career NLL career. It also holds added meaning for Duke junior attackman and fellow Hill Academy alum Dyson Williams. The Williams family number first worn by Dyson’s father, Shawn, during his NLL career, the digits took on added meaning after Tucker Williams, Dyson’s younger brother, lost an 11-month battle to Burkitt's Lymphoma on Dec. 17, 2014. He was 8 years old when he died.

A weekend after wearing No. 51 during Fall Classic at Tierney Field, Dyson Williams is wearing No. 19 this weekend. 

“I tried to give it to him, but he wouldn’t let me,” Teat said of Williams, whom he assisted in the second half against the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. “He’s a good guy.”

WORLD LACROSSE SUPER SIXES
SATURDAY RESULTS

Game 1: Canada 20, Haudenosaunee 13 (W)
Game 2: Canada 17, Haudenosaunee 16 (OT) (M)
Game 3: Canada 17, USA 14 (W)
Game 4: USA 18, Canada 17 (M)
Game 5: USA 19, Haudenosaunee 9 (W)
Game 6: USA 16, Haudenosaunee 11 (M)

SUNDAY SCHEDULE

Game 7: Haudenosaunee vs. USA (W) - 8:15 a.m. ET (LSN)
Game 8: Haudenosaunee vs. USA (M) - 9:30 a.m. ET (LSN)
Game 9: Canada vs. Haudenosaunee (W) - 10:45 a.m. ET (LSN)
Game 10: Canada vs. Haudenosaunee (M) - 12 p.m. ET (LSN)
Game 11: Canada vs. USA (W) - 1:15 p.m. ET (LSN)
Game 12: Canada vs. USA (M) - 2:30 p.m. ET (LSN)

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