When It Rains . . .

. . . It poured for the entire game of the lacrosse world championship final one week ago in London, Ontario. The USA team lost 15-10. As I headed out of town a couple hours later, my car tire went flat. Delayed one hour for repairs, I still faced a good 11 hours of driving to get back to DC.

I should have been glum, having witnessed only the second loss ever by the USA team in international competition. The United States has always dominated international lacrosse just like it used to dominate in basketball way back when.

Yet, as I crossed the border, I couldn't help but grin. Following the USA loss, I had surely seen the pain and disappointment on the faces of USA team members and former Hoya stars Scott Urick '99 and Kyle Sweeney '03. One year ago, they both were selected from a star-studded pool of top U.S. players during a week of grueling tryouts. They had invested a good portion of the past year preparing themselves as defending world champions.

Former Hoyas #30 Scott Urick and #4 Kyle Sweeney in pregame warmups

A young USA fan going with the all-American Mohawk look

I had traveled to western Ontario for the semis and finals to photograph and watch them bring home the gold medal for the red, white and blue. They carried a heavy burden though. Probably the most talented USA team ever put together, they were among the 23 best lacrosse players in the world, hand-picked to represent their country in these quadrennial games. Needless to say, they were favored to win it all. Despite the final loss, Scott and Kyle acquitted themselves quite commendably on this world stage: Scott led his USA teammates in total goals scored while Kyle tallied three goals and covered the field exceptionally well from his long-stick defensive midfield position.

I had to smile though as I drove through Niagara Falls, because I had just seen the world's best player compete for the victorious Canadian team. And his name was Brodie Merrill, Georgetown class of 2005. I was proud of him and glad for his parents who use to travel often to the Hilltop to watch their son play on American soil. I had watched in awe as he led, in his typical dominating fashion, his national team to the world title on his home turf.

Current Hoya assistant coach Scott Urick led the US team in goals with 20 tallies during the world championships

Brodie wreaked havoc with the USA offense, here disrupting a shot by one of his college coaches, USA sniper Scott Urick

On more than one occasion, Brodie and Scott chased down each other and the ball . . .

. . . and usually found themselves tied up in a stalemate


Now, I have known for the past two years that Brodie was without peer on the lacrosse field. What happened in London last week was that the rest of the world simply came to the same realization. Highly-regarded lacrosse commentator Quint Kessinich recently wrote, "Brodie Merrill is the biggest difference between this team and the Canada squads of 1994, 1998 and 2002. He's the best player in the game."

Fifteen months ago, in his senior season, I penned the following: ". . . watching Brodie Merrill play lacrosse is truly amazing. He reminds me of the famous quip of golfing legend Bobby Jones about the young Jack Nicklaus: `He plays a game with which I am not familiar.' "

Kyle Sweeney stood out on the USA defense

Once Hoya teammates, Brodie and Kyle lined up for face-offs on opposing sides

Kyle covered some valuable turf for the USA

During their six combined years at Georgetown, Kyle and Brodie made the roving and disruptive long-stick D-midfield position a signature element of the Hoya defense

Sport has a way of acknowledging the greatness of its most famed athletes by referring to these immortals by a single moniker: the Babe, Ali, Pele, Michael, Tiger. In lacrosse, that name may someday be: Brodie.

My camera and I were thoroughly drenched by the time the final seconds of the championship game ticked off. As the heads of the USA team began to droop, the men in red rejoiced all over the field. Just then, the sun came out.

Hoya, Hoya Saxa!   Hoya, Hoya Georgetown!   Hoya Brodie Merrill!

A finalist for the college lacrosse version of the Heisman in his final two Hoya seasons, Brodie outplayed 2004 Tewaaraton Trophy awardee, Mikey Powell and 2005 awardee, Kyle Harrison during the world games

Brodie reacted with joy in the waning moments of the game as Scott Urick hoped to put his corner finder to work one more time

Brodie spent post-game time greeting and modestly signing for his young fans

Already named to all-World team, Brodie hustled to receive the award as world's best defender


Gold medal and flag wearing Brodie with parents Peter and Patricia Merrill

Former Hoya midfielder Trevor Walker '03 traveled to London to see former fellow co-captain Kyle Sweeney at the world championships

Twenty-one nations participated in the 2006 world championships including the Scottish national team

Representing Czechoslavakia were two former Hoyas: all-America Greg Hubschmann `98 and brother Andrew `02 (wrapped with an ice pack). Father and team physician Otakar (in red) and brother Brian (not pictured) also played major roles with the team



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September 9
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September 10
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September 15
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September 16
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