Israeli lacrosse offers opportunity to senior

Be’er Sheva LC is the newest addition to the Israel Premier Lacrosse League for the 2016 season

Courtesy of Be’er Sheva LC

Be’er Sheva LC is the newest addition to the Israel Premier Lacrosse League for the 2016 season

Jacob Hymowitz saw his junior season with the men’s lacrosse team come to an early end last spring as he suffered a knee injury prior to the 2016 campaign. But before returning to the team for his senior year, Hymowitz spent his summer spreading the game of lacrosse internationally.

Andrew Landsman, who plays as a goalie for the Israel National team and helped them to the 2016 European Lacrosse Federation’s European Lacrosse Championship gold medal match, reached out to Hymowitz via Facebook Messenger about the opportunity to play in Israel. Landsman represented Israel Lacrosse, the organization that runs the Israel Premier Lacrosse League. Israel Lacrosse’s goal is to spread the game and spark interest in the sport throughout the country.

“I was excited to spend the summer playing lacrosse in Israel,” said Hymowitz.

Along with many other Jewish-American college players, Hymowitz came through a birthright trip offered by Israel Lacrosse.

Upon arrival, the birthright players had the opportunity to scrimmage the Israel national lacrosse team, where the birthright players won 17-2.

The Israel national team is com- prised mainly of other Jewish-American players. The goal of spreading the game to the citizens of the country is to have more Israeli-born players on the team.

Hymowitz played as a defender for a lacrosse club located in the city of Be’er Sheva. It was the club’s debut season, bringing in Jordan Hirsch as the head coach for the team. Hirsch played at Nazareth College in New York and was a member of the 2004 team that made it to the Division III National Championship game. He went on to briefly serve as an assistant coach at Hampden-Sydney College in 2008 and Lynchburg College from 2008 to 2010, both Old Dominion Athletic Conference colleges.

Hymowitz and the team had their first match with Haifa Lacrosse Club. Be’er Sheva won their first game as an official club, 5-4. The actual city of Haifa did not have an official lacrosse team, so Haifa LC was composed of the Israel National team, who used the league play as preparation for the European Championships.

Hirsch’s team overcame the lack of time they had to prepare for the matchup even in his absence.

“We played our first game without a coach, having met each other the day before,” said Hymowitz. “We were like a family by the end (of the season). This game started our bond.”

Coming into the city, most of the community had never heard of lacrosse before. It was the first year the sport of lacrosse had even been introduced to the youth of Be’er Sheva.

“Most people were more confused than excited at first because they had no idea what lacrosse was,” said Hy- mowitz. “People looked at us like we were crazy. We carried six foot poles and equipment, while sporting the same logo as their soccer team (Be’er Sheva Football Club).”

The success of Be’er Sheva LC promoted the sport throughout the city. Hymowitz and his teammates worked with Sticks for Kids, a program that allowed players to connect with youth in the community through lacrosse.

“Every time we showed up to a school to teach a clinic, the kids were beyond excited, especially as we started to win games and get more recogni- tion,” said Hymowitz. “Some kids even asked for autographs, which was a crazy experience.”

Hymowitz and the Be’er Sheva team also worked with the Be’er Sheva youth team that formed in addition to the official club team.

“These (Under-15) kids, who started practicing and playing when we did, had never played lacrosse before,” said Hymowitz. “They were always excited to come out. To see how they progressed and got better over time was great.”

Be’er Sheva went on to win the IPLL championship game at the end of the season, finishing with a 7-1 record for the year. They defeated Haifa LC once again in the championship game held in Wolfson Fields in the city of Tel Aviv.

After graduating, Hymowitz wants to play for the Israel National team. However, he noted the importance of giving the game of lacrosse to the community.

“The playing aspect was fun for me, but that’s not why we were there,” said Hymowitz. “We were there for the kids. We were there for the kids and the game.”

This article is also featured on the Guilford College official athletic website, guilfordquakers.com.

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