COLCHESTER, Vt. — Saint Michael’s College men’s lacrosse alumnus Taylor Smoke ‘09 (Hogansburg, N.Y./Vermont Academy) helped the Iroquois Nationals down Australia, 16-5, to claim third place at the 38-team Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Lacrosse Championship last month in Commerce City, Colo.
While finishing 5-3 during the 10-day tournament, the Nationals earned their first top-three finish ever at a senior national championship after falling to the Aussies in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIL World Lacrosse Championship bronze-medal games. Smoke started seven of the eight games on defense, corralling five ground balls and causing one turnover while helping the Nationals put together a 9.38 goals-against average.
During pool play, the Nationals defeated national teams from Australia, England and Japan. After a 10-8 victory over Scotland in the quarterfinal round, the Iroquois fell to eventual world champion Canada, 12-6, in the semifinals. The Nationals then took third place on Saturday with their second victory of the tournament against Australia, breaking open an 8-5 contest with the final eight goals. Prior to the setback, Australia had medaled at every championship since 1967. The Nationals lost only to Canada and world runner-up United States during the tournament.
Thirty-seven countries competed at this year’s tournament, as well as the Nationals, who are the national lacrosse team of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League, and represent more than 125,000 Iroquois living primarily in New York, Ontario and Quebec. Smoke was among 27 men selected for the Iroquois Nationals squad, and among eight defenders.
WARD HEADLINES TEAM
Dillon Ward made 10 saves in leading Canada to an 8-5 victory over the United States in the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championshp, presented by Trusted Choice.
Ward was named the Most Valuable Player of the championship, becoming the first goalie to ever receive the honor. Ward had a 63.3 save percentage to rank second in the tournament and a 4.45 goals against average that ranked fourth.
The other players named as the best players at their positions were all from the United States — Rob Pannell on attack, Paul Rabil at midfield and Tucker Durkin on defense.
Pannell was the leading scorer for the U.S. with 32 points (17g, 15a) and his 2.14 assists per game ranked second in the tournament. Rabil had 15 goals and eight assists from his midfield position and his 23 points ranked second for the U.S. Durkin anchored a U.S. defense that allowed just 34 goals in seven games, the lowest figure of any team in the tournament.