“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations, winning the battle before it is fought. The general who loses the battle makes few calculations, losing the battle before the battle is fought.”
-Sun Zi, The Art of War
With the hot Hungarian heat bearing down upon the Oxbridge Allstars, Peter Scott addressed the freshly assembled legion of laxers to start the day with a chalk talk. These preparations before the tournament were critical for setting up a unified and solid defense, and an offense that could get the looks that it wanted. Although the Allstars knew that their toughest challenge would come the following day, when they were slated for their first encounter with the tournament favorites, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstar team (IPLL), Oxbridge knew not to look past anyone, and to take the two games on the first day as a chance to set the tone for the rest of the tournament, and to iron out any wrinkles early.
The Oxbridge Allstars got off to a strong start on Day 1, with 12-1 and 7-1 victories over Bulgaria and Croatia, respectively. The All-stars controlled both games with the vast majority of the possession time, in large part due to midfielders Seb, Krin, and Ed dominating the face-offs. After the first day of play, the Allstars were revealed to be a well-rounded team with a lot of depth: the points were distributed evenly among the offensive players, with Seb, Krin, Ed, Matt, and Gabe putting up big points off of midfield dodges and attackman feeds, and attackmen Tom, Peter Scott, Tony, and Pieter putting up goals from quick passing and finding good looks. Attackman Pete Baddoo was huge (in all senses of the word): Baddoo was unstoppable from X, often bulldozing his way through multiple slides to get buckets off of his trademark ‘GLE behind the back fake to questionmark dodge’ (a.k.a the “Baddoo or Baddon’t, there is no try”). Yabada Baddoo, indeed.
Defensively, the Allstars proved a force to be reckoned with. The “Human Hoover,” Will Barrie, logged numerous critical ground balls, and takeaway specialists Tim Sweere and Erwin Lijklema shut down and stripped their matchups, resulting in numerous turnovers. The defensive effort was led by James Kavanagh, who critically orchestrated his defense: calibrating and calling out slides and cleanly clearing the ball. Kav showed up in big form, with some giant saves and frequently running the ball up the field himself, when it was clear the middies were gassed. Kav, during these self-clears, certainly earned his title as the “Fastest keeper in the northern hemisphere,” running roughly the same amount during each game as Floyd Mayweather Jr. does during his typical fight. His performance earned him player of the day honors, for which he was awarded pink fairy wings.
With two victories under their belts, and sitting at the top of the rankings, the Oxbridge Allstars grabbed a late dinner and headed to bed, knowing that the most grueling day was to follow: a tripleheader and their first encounter with the returning tournament champions, the IPLL.
Man of the Matches: James “Kav” Kavenaugh