Shawn Williams, Brock’s first lacrosse player to be honoured on the school’s wall of fame, scored the winning goal with 45 seconds to play, carrying the Toronto Nationals to a 10-9 victory over the Denver Outlaws, in the MLL championship game, this past Sunday, at Navy field in Annapolis Maryland.?
Williams (Brock’99) took the ball after a time out; fed it down the right side to the quick footed Ryan Walters; after back and forth passing, Williams circled the cage, brushed the off-ball screen, took the feed from Walters, and buried the shot past the stunned All American goalie, Jesse Schwartzman.
The ESPN2 announcers pumped the game as a contest between the American field and the Canadian box styles of play. The play was nothing new for Williams. He had run this play many times throughout his lacrosse career, including his four years with the Brock University Badgers.
?Jon Sullivan (Brock ‘03) and Stephen Hoar (U of T ‘06) also made significant contributions to the Nationals victory. Contrary to the accepted mythology, Canadians can play long stick at a world class level. Sullivan played as part of a regular rotation that shut down the Denver scoring for over 15 minutes. Hoar had key defensive short stick assignments and late in the game his tough on ball defense created two groundballs that stalled any possible Denver comeback.
Colin Doyle (Laurier’01) contributed 26 points in ten games for the Nationals but did not participate in the playoffs due to injury.
Let’s put this into perspective. A mix of box and field skills has been CUFLA’s mantra since its inception in 1986. We’ve had our share of great box players attend Canadian universities and compete in CUFLA lacrosse. We’ve had a few opportunities to try our game against NCAA competition. ?We’ve been telling those who will listen, that we have a great game, although sometimes we’re not certain ourselves. The Nationals’ victory and the contribution of Williams, Sullivan, Hoar and Doyle is a solid validation of our efforts. This wasn’t a junior college or an off season division three game. These guys were matched up against Dan Hardy, Josh Sims, Max Seibald, and the best U.S. lacrosse has to offer. ?
There will be more US coaches studying the pick and roll, three alleys and draw and dish tactics this off season than ever before. They’ll be hunting for another box player who can shoot a ball into a 2 inch square and they might even start looking at our long poles, drawmen and defensive middies.
?The Nationals victory on Sunday is a natural progression from the World Championship in ’06. The American lacrosse fraternity will devise defensive schemes, incorporate new drills and morph the Canadian style. We might even get the chance to do workshops at their coaching clinics, because that’s the game CUFLA’s been playing for years. That’s our game.