ASHKELON, ISRAEL - The Israel men’s national lacrosse team earned
a 13-6 win over Turkey on Thursday in front of a near-capacity crowd
at Ashkelon Municipal Stadium. The friendly, which was Israelâs
first ever home international, was the culmination of the lacrosse
associationsâ pilot youth program conducted in conjunction with the
An enthusiastic and curious crowd cheered the blue-and-white as they
built a 7-0 halftime lead. Noah Miller, who moved to Ashkelon from the
United States in June, was a clear fan-favorite, as he scored three
first half goals to the delight of the hundreds of spectators.
Ashkelon residents and local lacrosse coaches Seth Mahler (one goal,
one assist) and Matt Cherry (one assist) also chipped in on offense,
while native Ben Bretter contributed one goal.
Jerusalem LC goaltender Ben Levine got the start in goal and did not
disappoint, shutting out the Turks in the first 40 minutes. Reuven
Dressler (30:00, 3 GA) and Yoel Barnathan (10:00, 3 GA) split the
Although the team was mostly composed of Israel-based players,
several Jewish players from abroad joined Israel, including 2012
European Championship standouts Dan Leventhal (Tufts University),
Richard Cheifitz (Kean University) and Sacha Stout (University of
Manchester) who scored a goal apiece. Gabriel Leonhard (Arad) added an
Israel is now 2-0 all-time against Turkey, after earning a 13-9 win
last year in exhibition play in Istanbul.
Goksun Sofu (three goals), Ozan Can Saribas (two goals) and Burak
Cindik (one goal, one assist) led the Turkey offense.
For international lacrosse development, the week was an important
milestone for two neighboring nations with strained relations. Through
a shared passion for the game of lacrosse, the relationship could not
In addition to playing Israel, Turkey competed in exhibitions against
Jerusalem Lacrosse Club and an all-star team of players with strong
NCAA experience from the United States. The Turks toured Israel and
visited Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, Masada and the Dead Sea, and
attended a Shabbat service and dinner with their Israeli rivals. Most
importantly, they taught lacrosse to Israeli youth in Ashkelon,
building bridges through their newly shared passion for the sport.
Dozens of Ashkelon boys and girls attended the game wielding their
new lacrosse sticks from the STX Teethadesh (first stick) program, and
while their allegiance was to the blue and white, the men in the red
were warmly welcomed by the near capacity crowd.
The series is expected to continue annually with a neutral site
exhibition in Denver prior to the FIL 2014 World Lacrosse
Tryouts for the 2014 Israel menâs national team are being held July
9-11 at the Wingate Institute in Netanya.