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Ellis and Team Israel Forced Into a Forfeit at World Cup

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 07/23/2013
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Sam Ellis '13 and her teammates at the Opening Ceremony
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. (7/23/13) - Former Princeton women's lacrosse player Sam Ellis '13 and Israel finished eighth at the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup.

Making its inaugural appearance at the World Cup, Israel lost its first game of the tournament against Canada in the quarterfinals. In the consolation bracket, Israel lost to Scotland 9-7 in overtime and was scheduled to play Haudenosaunee in the seventh-place game. However, the game was set to take place on Saturday, Shabbat. Israel thus forfeit the game and released a statement saying "We cannot ignore that a reasonably large percentage of our nations’ people, our teams’ players, and our associations’ members and supporters would be offended if we took the field on Shabbat."

In the statement Team Israel explained that it approached the FIL and requested not to play matches on Shabbat. The FIL did grant that request for the pool play portion only. Israel made recommendations such as playing on Friday evening, playing Saturday after sundown, playing Sunday morning and offered to compensate for any extra expenses. However they were informed that the FIL was "not willing to offer any flexibility or dispensation from the event bylaws to reschedule a possible July 20 placement game."

Haudenosaunee accepted the 1-0 Israel forfeit for seventh place.

“The Haudenosaunee Nation women’s lacrosse team respects Israel’s right to stand up for what they believe in and we wish them all the best with their program,” said Haudenosaunee Chair Kathy Smith. “We understand the importance of national identity and are respectful of the sacrifices the Israelis’ are willing to make to uphold what is important to them. We are optimistic we will have the opportunity to play against Israel in a friendly game in the near future.”

The teams met to exchange gifts before sundown on Friday evening, and several Haudenosaunee coaches and players attended a Shabbat service with the Israel women.

“While we were optimistic for a different result, our team and staff have been overwhelmed by the encouragement and affection we received this week from our supporters in Israel and the diaspora, especially the local Canadian Jewish community, “ Israel Lacrosse Association executive director Scott Neiss said. "We are so proud of our players who represented the State of Israel with pride, passion and purpose both on and off the field. We are encouraged we will have a healthy dialogue with the FIL regarding this issue ahead of the 2014 men’s world championship.”

The Israel and Haudenosaunee teams will be holding discussions to play an exhibition match this fall.

Israel defeated Germany 15-6, Scotland 13-6, South Korea 19-2, Hong Kong 19-4 and lost to Japan 12-11 in overtime prior to the championship bracket. Israel then topped New Zealand 12-9 in the first round before a 17-5 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals.

Ellis played in five games, missing the Hong Kong and Canada games. She had four goals, five assists for nine points and added seven draw controls, six ground balls and two caused turnovers.

"Playing in the World Cup was a surreal experience," Ellis said. "Coming together as a team in Israel only one week before we started competing made our team bond with each other and the country incredibly fast. During our week abroad we trained, traveled to some of the most beautiful parts of Israel, and experienced the true Israeli culture. My love for Israel, my 19 teammates, and two coaches evolved and proved itself on the field. After our amazing experience in Israel, the following 10 days were spent competing on the field against some of the top teams and players in the world. It was amazing to have the opportunity to be accompanied by such skilled players on and off the field."

"Playing for Israel's first ever women's national lacrosse team made me feel proud that I got to represent a country that embodies so much of who I am," Ellis continued. "As a true citizen and an ambassador for the country, I am happy to call Israel my new home and I am even happier that I have been able to create another family on and off the lacrosse field that I will have forever."

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