Iroquois Nationals round up games #1 and #2

DENVER CO. — Traveling around with the Iroquois Nationals is like traveling with the Beatles, according to one journalist covering the FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver CO.

It’s a far cry from 2010 when Team Iroquois travel documents as issued by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council and successfully used as passports in the past, were denied and as a result, Team Iroquois did not appear and were relegated to Pool B.

They were invited to use Canadian or American passports for the trip to England for the games, but rather than accept what the team considered a foreign government usurping its authority over the Haudenosaunee sovereignty, they chose not to participate.

The hard-nosed decision by World Cup officials to relegate the I-nats, created a groundswell of support from the rest of the world’s lacrosse community at the time and Team Iroquois was eventually reinstated into the A-pool, where they compete this year in Denver.

Fans of all ages are reported to line up along the fence line at the fields awaiting autographs from the I-nat players and even their trainers and equipment handlers.

The I-nats started the series with a 15-4 win over Team England, July 11th. The teams were close in the first quarter as both teams were getting their game-legs under them. But it would be the English to score the first goal of the game. It was tied 1-1 with the I-nats goals scored by Lyl Thompson, one of the three Thompson brothers in the Iroquois lineup.

England regained the lead, 2-1, early in the second quarter before the I-nats exploded with a six goal string of goals before the half ended, from Zach Miller, Lyl Thompson, two by Jeremy Thompson, and two more scored by Randy Staats.

“It’s a matter of getting these guys out of the box (game) and their limited reps on the field. Every day we’re on the field they get better,” said Iroquois Nationals coach Steve Beville. “Every day we’re on the field their timing is better, their spacing is better. Sometimes guys were open but the timing was off, the pass was a little behind him, a little in front of him. We didn’t look too good. We just stressed using ‘big green,’ big green spaces. Once we started doing that and spreading the field out and taking the runs from some big green spaces, I thought we did much better. And obviously we got into some rhythm there. Once these guys get into a rhythm they’re really hard to stop. It’s a very talented group.”

England scored first to open the second half as well, which unleashed an eight-goal response from the Iroquois on their way to the 15-4 win. The Iroquois defense only allowed one goal per quarter, although they were tested from time to time by the English.

In total, the four Thompson brothers combined for nine goals and four assists.

Scoring for Team Iroquois were: Lyl Thompson (3G), Miles Thompson (1G,3A), Zach Miller (1G,1A), Ty Thompson (1G) Jerome Thompson (3G), Brett Bucktootyh (1G), Vaughn Harris (1G,1A), Randy Staats (2G), Jeremy Thompson (2G,1A), and Jeff Shattler (1A).

Saturday the I-nats seemed to toy with the Team Japan, finishing the first quarter tied 4-4, before unloading a 24-9 final score to take 2-0 record into Sunday night’s important matchup with Team Canada.
Cody Jamieson, said that his team is shaking off some of its box lacrosse habits.

“That’s probably the biggest difference, is trying to remain calm and slowing the ball down, especially when the defense has just played two minutes,” Jamieson told an Inside Lacrosse reporter embedded with the team.

“We’re all used to getting the ball and going right away. We’ve got to get used to taking our time and spinning the ball around a couple times and substituting. A lot of times, we’re trying to force it before we’ve even got six guys on the field. It’s just a matter of getting back into the field lacrosse mindset and going from there.”

Putting points on the board for the I-nats were Miles Thompson (2G,7A) Randy Staats (2G,6A), Cody Jamieson (3G,4A), Roger Vyse (3G,2A), Jerome Thompson (4G), Vaughn Harris (3G), Tom Montour (2G), Lyle Thompson (2G), Jeff Shattler (2G), Brett Bucktook (1G), and Alex Kedoh Hill (1A).

Lacrosse, the undisputed fastest growing sport in the world today, is well represented at the World Games with teams from around the world competing in several “colour divisions.”

Nine nations made their debut in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship, the largest international lacrosse championship in history. A record 38 nations are participating in this year’s championship.

The list includes teams from Australia, Canada, England, Japan, and the USA joining Team Iroquois in the elite “Blue Division.” China, Italy, Netherlands, and Norway play in the “Green Division,” Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Poland, and Turkey compete in the Grey Division while Israel, Republic of Korea, Slovakia and Sweden are in the Orange Division. Plum Division teams include Argentina, New Zealand, Russia and Wales. Columbia, Finland, Mexico, and Spain are in the Turquoise. White Division teams are Latvia, Scotland, Switzerland and Thailand, while Bermuda, France, Ireland and Uganda play in the Yellow Division. Teams are advanced or relegated according to their performance each year.

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