Most casual fans of lacrosse are familiar with the outdoor game, normally referred to as field lacrosse, but many fans are not aware that there is actually another form of the game. Box lacrosse is traditionally a Canadian game, but in recent decades it has gained popularity in many areas of the world. The interest has become so great that the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) has put on a World Championship event every four years beginning in 2003. This year the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships will be played in Syracuse during the second half of September. The Carrier Dome will host the medal games. Canada has won all three of the prior World Championships with the Iroquois Nation coming in second each year.
US Lacrosse recently announced its 31-player tryout roster for it's national indoor team, and it features several former Syracuse Orange players. Defenseman Brian Megill is the most recent SU graduate that has accepted an invitation to tryouts. Megill started nearly every game in his Syracuse career and finished up as the SU career leader in caused turnovers.
Joel White, Scott Ditzell, and Matt Abbott will also be trying out as defensive players. Abbott, a 2009 graduate, totaled 41 goals and 26 assists in his four years at 'Cuse. It should be noted that while Abbott is a midfielder, in box lacrosse there are no midfielders, just forwards and defensemen.
Ditzell may be an unknown to more recent lacrosse fans, but he played defense for SU for two years after transferring from Herkimer Community College. The Geneva, NY, native was an All-American and Orange captain in 2005, and played on the 2007 and 2011 US National Indoor Team.
Joel White finished his collegiate career as the all-time Syracuse leader in career groundballs with 283 and is third on the SU all-time caused turnovers list with 61. At SU, White was both a First-Team All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist twice. In the MLL, the former Orange star plays for the Rochester Rattlers.
Coach John Desko's son, Tim Desko, rounds out the group as the only Syracuse player trying out for a forward position. A former SU captain, Desko picked up 63 career goals and 85 points in 56 games played.
The FIL has several rules for player eligibility. A player holding a country's passport may play for that country. Every team must be made up of at least 85% of passport holders. However, individuals may play for a country even if they don't hold that country's passport if: 1) one or both parents (birth parents, adoptive parents, or step-parents) were born in the country, 2) one or more grandparents (birth or adoptive grandparents) were born in the country, 3) the player's partner or spouse is a passport holder of the country but both the player and his spouse or partner must both be residents of the country, or 4) the player has been a resident of the country for a minimum of two years within the last five years.
I gave that explanation so you can better understand why Stephen Keogh will be playing for Ireland. Keogh had a storied career at Syracuse but also has significant box experience.
If you will be in the Central New York area in September, check out the Tournament. Box lacrosse is an incredibly exciting game, and is way more physical than the field game.