Iroquois Nationals Women, Panama Men Win Inaugural PALA Sixes Cup Titles


Ryland Huyghue’s Panama men’s lacrosse team practiced for the first time ever on Thursday. The players met for a second practice Friday before taking part in the 2021 PALA Sixes Cup in Auburndale, Florida.

Last Wednesday, Huyghue spoke optimistically about his team’s chances.

“I’ve been coaching for 37 years, and every game I go into, I look to win. Period,” he said. “We’re going in there to win.”

Fielding a team of heritage players located stateside due to COVID-19, Panama did just that, beating Puerto Rico on Sunday in the championship game.

“We’ve got a few different groups of players who have played together,” Huyghue said. “That’s why I’m pretty confident that with my direction and our game plan, we should be able to execute.”

Panama was recognized as World Lacrosse’s 66th member national governing body on April 22, 2020, and COVID-19 served as a barrier to beginning any sort of competition until this past weekend.

The event featured 10 teams from seven Pan American countries. The PALA hosted both a men’s and women’s tournament, showcasing World Lacrosse’s new Sixes discipline and setting the stage for what PALA president Katherine Loh hopes will be an annual competition.

The men’s tournament field included Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Peru, Panama and two teams from Colombia. The women’s tournament featured Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia and the Iroquois Nationals.

The Iroquois Nationals were victorious on the women’s side, dominating the competition with an undefeated run that culminated in a 17-9 win over Puerto Rico in the championship match.

The women finished the tournament with a plus-64 goal differential — a showcase of the team’s might in the new Sixes discipline.

Coached by Le Moyne women’s lacrosse coach Liz Beville, the Iroquois Nationals will also participate in the “Super Sixes” tournament hosted by USA Lacrosse on October 23-24 in Sparks, Md.

The tournament will feature Canada, the Iroquois Nationals and the United States in a round-robin tournament for both men and women. All three nations will help organize the event, with support from World Lacrosse.

Sixes, a 6-on-6 discipline with a shorter field and fast-paced play, allows for countries like Panama that are new to professional lacrosse to find equal footing with nations that have established lacrosse traditions. Smaller rosters of just 12 players means significantly reduced costs.

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