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2017 Age Group Worlds, from Holland, 10

USA vs Colombia

Our morning game is with Colombia. A powerhouse and perennial medal contender in the U19M division. Eric Mai and Ben Zeigler are down with a cold bug and too weak to play. Without any alternates, we have only eight players suiting up for the game.

We reset the lineup, subbing patterns and our game plan is to stay on the walls and move steadily up the court. Kickouts and swings will be called when the openings are there.

During the warmup, the Colombian coach comes over and shakes my hand and wishes us good luck. He sees that we have only eight players and senses that this will be a walkover. The Colombian players seem loose and relaxed. Maybe too relaxed.

Buzzer, strike. We take possession, Zakk kicks it left. Raymond races up the left wall and into their corner. He sees a gap and veers into the center. Our backs, Quantum and Eric are all down and following. The Colombians are startled and on their heels. We surge forward and drive hard. Raymond and Zakk centers the puck in front of their goal and Ryan Situ, the weak side back in perfect position slams it into their goal. Textbook perfect. USA 1 Colombia 0.,

I know the boys are stoked, but Colombia fights back and scores. The boys give it their all. Undermanned, they fight on gallantly. Our wall game is effective and frustrates the bigger, faster and more experienced Colombians. With only 25 seconds left, the score is 5 - 1. I tell Quantum to hold it in the corner, but he tries to bring it out. The Colombians tackle him and score in the final seconds making it 6-1.

These are games in which we were expected to lose in double figures. Our boys were heroic and stood tall. Handshakes were genuine and the good relations between the Colombian and USA teams continues. We will see our friends again in 2019 at the next Age Group World games in Sheffield England.

USA vs Australia

Our afternoon game is with Australia. The team with home court advantage. There is a rumor that the captains of the Aussie team are down with the cold bug going around, but their full squad is on hand.

Eric who is still sick and weak but willing, joins us for this game. We suit up nine players and have a go at the Aussies. We stay with our wall game when many think we should open up and swing out. An open game is just not effective when we have so many inexperienced players who have yet to develop a consistent flick. Without it, our passes fall short creating easy breakaways and losses in double figures.

We make the Aussies work and hold them to 5 goals. This is a victory in itself. At the end of the game, I tell the boys I'm proud of them. I have done my best to keep them tough and competitive and they have come through.

Playoffs begin tomorrow.

PS Watch #134 M19 COL vs USA and #149 M19 AUS vs M19 USA.

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Jul
21
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Agnes, 10

It’s almost over… Bittersweet game for the U19 girls today.

Jul
20
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Holland, 11

The bug has spread. All ten of our boys share two suites and now six of them are sick.

Jul
20
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Agnes, 9

I am not sure I can make it through this report. It is SOOOO stressful. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone - I can do that tomorrow.

Jul
19
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Agnes, 8

First game today was M19 against Colombia - a great game that I will let Holland do the report on.

Jul
18
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Holland, 9

Our game with Argentina is not until 5:10 pm so we take the boys on an optional cruise around the Bay of Hobart. It's bitter cold and we're the only people on the boat.

Jul
18
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Agnes, 7

This will be a short report. I’m coming down with some sort of bug and I feel completely wiped out.

Jul
17
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Holland, 8

Our 10:40 am game is with the Brits. They beat New Zealand 5 - 2. I consider this an upset and know that our boys will have their hands full.

Jul
17
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Agnes, 6

It’s a cloudy day in Hobart, but spirits are high. Games are going well, and we are all getting into a good routine for our games.

Jul
17
2017 Age Group Worlds, from Holland, 7

So many letters of encouragement from home. Thank you all. Only one game today.

USA vs South Africa.