“This is the publication of the research of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that the actions of people shall not fade with time, so that the great and admirable achievements of both the Oxbridge Allstars and the IPLL shall not go unrenowned, and, among other things, to set forth the reasons why they cared to lax, bruh.”
-Herodotus, The Histories (trans. P. Rabil & J. Grant Jr.)
The final day of the round robin portion of the tournament began with national anthems. The national anthem of the Israel Premier Lacrosse League’s Allstar Team (IPLL) was played first: Israel’s poignant Hatikvah (concluding with the lines “Our hope is not yet lost/The hope two thousand years old/To be a free nation in our land/The land of Zion and Jerusalem”). Next it was Oxbridge’s turn for their national anthem to be played, but since the Oxbridge team was made up of a combination of British, American, Dutch, and one German player, the Allstars chose their own anthem; a song that in the words of Jack “Kav” Kavenaugh “isn’t a national anthem, but has a lot of meaning for our team.” Following the Israeli National Anthem being played over the speakers for the IPLL, the Oxbridge Allstars stood stoically (and sang along to) Dido’s “White Flag.” Indeed, the impassioned performance proved prescient, epitomizing the gritty determination and the “never say die” spirit with which the Allstars were to play the rest of the tournament.
In a scorching hot afternoon, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstar Team (IPLL) and the Oxbridge Allstars faced off. As with the day before, IPLL was to draw first blood, with an early goal. At this point, you might think that with Oxbridge battered, beat-up, blistered, and bruised from two days of grueling play already, they could have let the early goal demoralize them and set the pace for the rest of the game, [and if you live by the rules of ‘it’s over,’ then I’m sure that that makes sense.] But it didn’t make sense to Oxbridge, who weren’t satisfied with taking a loss and with it the #2 seed. No! [They promised they weren’t trying to make their life harder, or return to where they were] as the #2 seed. Down 0-1, Oxbridge roared to life and put away two goals before the half, to take the halftime lead 2-1. IPLL then came back, in exactly the way that Drake’s exes don’t, taking a 3-2 lead late in the game. One of those IPLL goals came in transition, when Matt Johnson failed to find and recover to the open man quickly enough, which resulted in an easy goal for IPLL, and granted them the lead. Although Little Dragon feared that this mistake had [left too much mess and destruction for him to come back again,] he was heartened by the immediate forgiveness of his teammates, and on the next possession he responded with a goal of his own off of his signature move, the “Up-top sweep dodge into the crease slide, ending up facedown in the ground, and scoring” (a.k.a. the “concussion special”). IPLL managed to get one final goal in the closing minutes, to win 4-3.
Defensively, Oxbridge was rock solid, with IPLL goals coming mainly in transition, or off of the occasional outside shot with the goalie screened. Peter Scott made a number of highlight reel saves, and came out of the cage on occasion to acrobatically pick off passes.
A masterclass in grit and scrapping was put on by Gabe Barrie, who took the faceoffs for Oxbridge, against a much larger opponent. Gabe proved the faster man, winning a couple of the faceoffs cleanly, and when beaten by his opponent managed to strip him a couple of times, and when contested evenly dug in and scrapped for every ground ball. His determination to play the ball and not the man on every faceoff, and his perseverance in battling for every faceoff and going toe-to-toe despite the size disparity, and his refusal to [put his hands up and surrender], fighting with a heart even bigger than his massive opponent, won the hearts of his Oxbridge teammates, who, as a result of his faceoff performance, [were in love and always will be.] For his performance he won man of the match honors.
After the IPLL game, Cambridge was dealt a further blow to their numbers with the departure of Captain Tony “Liberty” Belviso, who had to leave so that we all could continue to enjoy our freedom. And also because the scriptwriters of Captain America 4 needed more material to base the next movie off of.
Not wanting to miss any possible opportunity to lax (but hoping for an opportunity to re-lax, if you will), that evening the Oxbridge Allstars scrimmaged a team made up of national team coaches (including former All-World team member, MLL and box legend, and current Dutch National Team coach, Neal Powless), lacrosse reporters from the Lacrosse AllStars, and lacrosse equipment reps, with the remaining positions being filled in with members of the Bulgarian team. Impressive performances were put in by Erwin, who was matched up against Neal Powless and held his own against the living lacrosse legend, and Peter Scott, with some massive saves against some fellow former D1 players. Dominant performances were put in by Krin and Seb at faceoff, although, to be fair, their opponent was ten years old (and it was his birthday).(Although to be doubly fair, Krin and Seb did a good job of graciously trying to let him win). The entire Oxbridge team ended up putting in a lights-out performance in the scrimmage, winning it 12-2. You can read more about the game here:
With solid play in the first three days of the tournament, the Allstars (uncharacteristically) turned in early, to get a full night’s rest before the championship match the next day. As they closed their bedroom doors and hit the hay, there was a distinct lack of any White Flags above their doors. They were going down with this ship, all the way to the ‘ship.
Man of the Match: Gabe Barrie