AFTER five wins and one loss during the tournament, the Australian lacrosse team faced Japan in the grand finals of the 2017 Under-23 Asia Pacific (ASPAC) Lacrosse Championships in South Korea over the weekend.
Although they fought hard throughout the entire game, after they fell behind early, they lost 9-6.
“It was very exciting to make the grand final and was a great experience to play in front of a large crowd against a well-trained and skilled team like Japan,” said 17-year-old Jewish Australian team member Liam Harari, who was also chosen to be the flag bearer for the Aussie team.
“It was an amazing feeling to play for my country.”
During the tournament, the Australian team established itself as a force to be reckoned with by defeating South Korea 8-3.
After losing to Japan 12-8, the team rallied in a spectacular fashion to defeat Taiwan 24-0.
“I was so nervous before every game,” Harari admitted. “You arrive at the ground in the bus with the team and you see the Australian flag fly and you get into the zone and are so focused.”
Thanks in large part to a timely goal by Harari, the team beat Hong Kong 9-4 on June 20, won against China 28-0 the following day and finally beat Korea 12-2 in the last game before the finals.
“Scoring a goal felt like winning a game each time you scored,” Harari said. “I got a goal in a tight game against Hong Kong and a lot of emotion came out for me.”
The Australian women’s under-23 team also made the grand finals of the championships, where they were defeated by Japan 16-6.
The teams are now back on Australian soil, and Harari’s next challenge will be trying out for the Australian under-19 team, which will compete in the World Championships in Ireland in 2020, after which be plans to play for the senior men’s team that will compete in the 2022 World Championship.