Zoe Martin, 16, a Rising Star for Israel Women's Lacrosse

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI


TOWSON, Md. — When Zoe Martin first tried lacrosse as a 5-year-old, she hated it. Strong words, but her words none the less. That opinion has drastically shifted.

A member of the Israel women’s lacrosse team, Martin’s fundraising page for the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s Championship exemplifies her about-face. She hopes competing at Towson University during the tournament will help her build “a meaningful and lifelong bridge to Israel.”

Talk about a complete 180.

The thing is, Martin has come a long way in a short time. The Denver, Colorado, product is just 16 years old. Yes, 16. Her teammate, Sarah Meisenberg, is more than double her age (34).

But Martin isn’t competing like an unseasoned international player. It’s actually the opposite. On Friday evening, during Israel’s second game of Pool B play against Norway, Martin was named the player of the match after scoring five goals (on seven shots) with one assist and six draw controls. This after she scored three goals the day prior against Korea Republic.

She flashed her tenacity against Norway, winning a draw with one arm extended before taking it down the field by herself, eventually drawing contact and scoring as she hit the turf hard. A yellow card was assessed after the dangerous play. She was hardly rattled.

Later in the fourth quarter, Martin wowed the crowd with a backhanded twizzler that put her side ahead 16-5 — the final score against Norway.

“It’s just a game of lacrosse,” said Martin, whose mother, father, sister and brother are with her in Towson. “I’m just here to have fun. I know my age. I just want to have a good experience.”







Israel head coach Shelly Brezicki realistically had little choice but to add Martin to her roster. Named to the squad as a 15-year-old, Martin was a force during tryouts. Poised beyond her years, Martin stood out among a pool of players who largely had much more experience than the midfielder.

“Her speed was definitely something that stood out right away, and then her stick skills,” Brezicki said. “For her to be at her age and have the control that she does and the game IQ that she does, it showed right away at tryouts. We were impressed and obviously excited. Her confidence just keeps building.”

Control is certainly the operative word when describing Martin’s game. She moves gracefully across the field with purpose, though she never looks like she’s exerting too much effort. Patrolling the field at a deliberate pace, she can also turn on the jets and make an impact in the blink of an eye.

Small in stature, Martin doesn’t shy away from a crowd. That goal where she went from right to left across the crease and drew the yellow card being a perfect example of that fearlessness.

“I also play field hockey, and I can get a little antsy in field hockey,” Martin said. “But something about lacrosse, it keeps me calm. I never get freaked out or anything.”

Martin isn’t the only 16-year-old on Team Israel. She shares the distinction of being the team’s youngest player with Talya Shnit. A midfielder from Kokhav Michael, South District, Israel, who is seeking college opportunities in the United States, Shnit was met by a raucous cheer from both fans and teammates when she scored with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter — her first goal of the tournament.

Players must be at least 15 years old to compete in the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. Martin and Shnit aren’t the youngest players in the competition, but they’re certainly in the ballpark.

“It’s amazing for Israel Lacrosse as a program to know that we have the youth and the talent,” Brezicki said. “We know that the future is bright, and we’re going to keep growing. Our hope is that other players see the success that they’re having and join our program as well.”

Israel is currently the No. 2 team in Europe and is 2-0 through its first two games of pool play with a combined score of 34-11. Martin’s nine points and eight goals are both team-high totals. She’s tied for the team lead in draw controls (seven) with Megan Lerner.

“I was forced into [lacrosse] by my dad,” Martin said. “I just started growing and getting better, and I was like, ‘I love this sport.’ I met my best friends through the game, and I just want to keep playing.”

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