Even the passing of his 30th birthday wasn't enough to keep Matt Striebel from his third appearance at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships. And what would the World Championships be for Striebel if Ryan Boyle wasn't there.
Striebel, a 2001 Princeton grad, and Boyle, who graduated in 2004, were among 23 players selected for the U.S. team for next summer's event, which will be held in Manchester, England. It will be the third time – on three continents – for both on the U.S. team.
In fact, Striebel and Boyle will be two of the five players on the 2010 team who competed four years ago in London, Ont., and two of the three along with Kevin Cassese on the 2010 team who were also on the 2002 and 2006 teams.
The 2010 team will be coached by Bryant's Mike Pressler and was selected after a process that saw a pool of 84 players cut to 41 last summer and then the final 41 trimmed to 23 after a series of weekend playing events this fall.
"It was really competitive," Striebel said of the tryout process. "It was psychologically, emotionally and physically taxing. In the past, there was one week of tryouts. The new format was really challenging."
Striebel and Boyle go back to the 2001 season at Princeton, when then-freshman Boyle arrived to play on attack, moving Striebel to midfield. From that point, they have both grown into among the greatest players in the world at their positions, and they have won championships together at every level.
"I didn't get to know him that well at Princeton," Boyle said of Striebel. "i was a freshman, and he was a senior. Now he's one of my best friends. It's special how that transformation has been."
Their first championship came in 2001, when Princeton defeated Syracuse 10-9 in overtime to win the NCAA title on a day when Boyle assisted on the winning goal and Striebel scored twice. Since then, they have won three Major League Lacrosse titles together with the Philadelphia Barrage, and the U.S. team won the 2002 championship in Perth, Australia.
The 2006 event didn't go as well for the U.S., as the Americans fell in the championship game to Canada.
"A chance to win another gold is a huge part of this," Striebel said. "For us, 2006 was negative experience. We were the first team to lose in 28 years. In talking to Coach Pressler, he's approached this with a plan. He's definitely focused and has a lot of energy, and that matches up with how I feel. Anyone from 2006 feels same way."
Striebel recently completed his master's in the writing program at the University of Iowa. He and Boyle work together for Trilogy Lacrosse, a company that promotes youth lacrosse and wellness throughout the country.
The 2010 U.S. Men's National Team
A Ryan Boyle - Boston Cannons (Princeton ’04)
M Kevin Cassese – Boston Cannons (Duke ’03)
D Joe Cinosky – Toronto Nationals (Maryland ’08)
M/A Ned Crotty – Duke ’09
M Kyle Dixon – Washington Bayhawks (Virginia ’06)
G Brian Dougherty – Long Island Lizards (Maryland ’96)
D DJ Driscoll – Chicago Machine (Notre Dame ’06)
G Adam Fullerton – Denver Outlaws (Army ’08)
A Mike Leveille – Chicago Machine (Syracuse ’08)
D Eric Martin – Denver Outlaws (Salisbury ’04)
D Ryan McClay – Boston Cannons (Cornell ’03)
A Brendan Mundorf – Denver Outlaws (UMBC ’06)
D Shawn Nadelen – Washington Bayhawks (Johns Hopkins ’01)
M Stephen Peyser – Long Island Lizards (Johns Hopkins ’08)
A Ryan Powell – Big Foot LC (Syracuse ’00)
M Paul Rabil – Boston Cannons (Johns Hopkins ’08)
M Chris Schiller - Sailin’ Shoe LC (Penn State ’99)
M Max Seibald – Denver Outlaws (Cornell ’09)
M Alex Smith – Washington Bayhawks (Delaware ’07)
M Matt Striebel – Chicago Machine (Princeton ’01)
D Kyle Sweeney – Boston Cannons (Georgetown ’03)
A Drew Westervelt – Denver Outlaws (UMBC ’07)
M Matt Zash – Long Island Lizards (Duke ’06)