The Luxembourg Men’s Field Lacrosse team, the Blacksmiths, faced off against Belgian rival Namur Knights on Sunday 21 November 2021 in adverse conditions.
The Knights called with a 2-0 record including a resounding winning over a weakened Oupeye Foxes team, having taken down latest league addition Antwerp Armadillos at the home game in the Grand Duchy in October. The field offered no advantage to either side, the muddy pitch promising a physical and hard-fought match up.
The Blacksmiths again needed to overcome availability issues, reactivating 2018 World Cup goal tender Linus Föhr and introducing recent LacrosseFit graduate #54 G. Rajmohan to full contact Lacrosse. The Knights sported a full complement of talent including high scoring #10 R. Bouchat.
The game began according to plan for player coach #55 G. Ritts. #7 P. Bingen made his first of many important contributions, giving the Blacksmiths the first lead in the 7th minute. Namur was quick to retaliate with two quick scores giving them a 2-1 advantage by the middle of the first quarter. #39 K. Giovagnoli equalised to 2-2, underlining what would later prove a vital ability to score under pressure.
With even scores on a field with significant rain and mud, the game progressed with strong performances from both teams, albeit Luxembourg could generate the later all important lead of 5-3 by the end of the second quarter, with goals from defender #16 B. Swartz and short sticks #35 P. Barbier and #69 R. Jegen.
The zone defence of Luxembourg had at this point stifled the typically high fire power of Namur, also because of #1 L. Föhr’s seven saves. His journey towards a new personal record was cut short, however, after a sprained ankle prevented further glory for the goalie. Without a second goalkeeper in the team, Luxembourg Lacrosse founder and first goal scorer of the game #7 P. Bingen stepped into the cage.
Namur tried to capitalise on the change in momentum and began to push towards equal score, reaching 4-5 and 5-6, held at bay by the second goal from Giavognoli early in the fourth quarter. The Knights had plenty left in the tank and, despite five saves from Bingen in goal, managed to equalise to 6-6 at the end of the fourth quarter.
Overtime then saw the most exciting play of the day. Defender #26 C. Forbes made the clutch play to strip the ball of the Namur attacker which allowed the defence to advance the ball to #39 K. Giovagnoli, who ended the match in overtime with his final goal.
"The win shows that our team and the league have massively improved, and we are very grateful to have been able to play this many games this season", commented Coach H. Schmidt.
The score sheet showed again a broad range of scorers, testimony to the Namur goalkeeper recording 20 saves. The MVP of the last game #69 R. Jegen was held to one goal, whilst reliable scorer #52 H. Coelho delivered two important assists. #35 P. Barbier continually kept the defence busy, ultimately rewarding himself with one goal.
Golden goal scorer #39 K. Giovagnoli commented on his game: “Namur came out to play, so did we. We fought through mud, losing Linus and overcame a goalie that was everywhere – cannot wait to play again in a few weeks”.
Commenting on the final of the 2021 games, Coach Schmidt said: “It’s our five year anniversary as Luxembourg Lacrosse in two weeks. This is just what we wanted now and nothing we would have even dreamt of in 2016. We still just want to play the best game on two feet, but to see competitive results really underlines that the recipe works. Best thing for me – we won three games and we use everyone on the roster, including the LacrosseFit guys like Ganesh’’.
Lacrosse has been in Luxembourg since 2016. Anyone wishing to learn more or even play is invited to visit lacrosse.lu/index.php/join-the-team/ or follow the team's social media pages (Facebook and Instagram).