BELGRADE, Serbia – Ashkelon Lacrosse Club took third place in the inaugural ISB Dragons Youth Lacrosse Challenge in Belgrade, Serbia.
The tournament marked the first delegation of entirely “homegrown” players to represent Israel in an international lacrosse competition.
Moran Joffe (five goals, one assist), Adi Comarov (five goals) and Yotam Drori (four goals, one assist) led Ashkelon to a 3-2 record in the under-17 tournament, including a big victory over the host ISB Dragons; Daniel Obreja (240:00, 16 GA, 3-2) played the entire tournament in goal for Ashkelon.
The Ashkelon club, which is coached by Israel men’s national team players Seth Mahler and Matthew Cherry, features mostly athletes who have only been playing the sport for 6-8 months, but have progressed their skills quickly and expect to be ready to compete internationally.
The new Belgrade tournament, hosted by Serbia Lacrosse at the International School of Belgrade, was launched to provide a competitive environment that will allow newcomers to experience lacrosse and understand the dynamics of the game. The event is officially recognized by the European Lacrosse Federation.
The experienced Swiss club Helvetia, who won the tournament championship with a perfect 5-0 record, trounced Ashkelon 8-1 in the opening game. With the pre-tournament jitters done away with, and a game under their belts, Ashkelon outlasted the host ISB Dragons 5-2 with a big second-half performance to earn its first international win.
Next, the Israelis controlled a slow-paced match, holding Bulgarian club Sofia Ninjas scoreless for the first 30 minutes en route to a 3-1 victory to earn a spot in the semifinals.
In the semis, the host Dragons came from behind to edge Ashkelon in a low-scoring 3-2 battle on Sunday morning before Ashkelon used a balanced attack, scoring a team-high seven goals to outpace the Sofia Ninjas 7-2 in the third-place contest.
The weekend abroad was more than just lacrosse for the young Israelis, who had Shabbat dinner at Chabad Lubavitch of Serbia, and took an educational tour of the city of Belgrade, and the historic Kalemegdan Fortress.