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Fall Ball Goes Global

Oct 14, 2015, 1:00 AM EDT

Towson hosted Team Israel

For spring sports like baseball and lacrosse, the fall season is a chance to shake off the rust of the summer, gel with new teammates, and face some opponents you wouldn’t normally. This fall, three CAA squads got to do just that and play three national teams from around the world.

UNCW baseball welcomed the Czech Republic National team to Brooks Field on October 9 and picked up an 8-7 win. The Czech team consists of players of Czech heritage. Marek Minarik is one of four players on the roster who played with affiliated clubs in the minor leagues while former NC State standout Alex Sogard and Mike Zouzalik pitched this summer for the Wichita Wingnuts and St. Paul Saints on the independent circuit. Take a look at the photo gallery from UNCWSports.com

While baseball’s reach has expanded by leaps and bounds, you don’t often think of lacrosse as a global game.  But the national teams from Japan and Israel paid a visit to the United States and made stops at Hofstra and Towson, respectively.

For the third time in the past four years, Hofstra’s team helped grow the sport of lacrosse in the Far East with their scrimmage against Kyoto University of Japan at James M. Shuart Stadium on September 25. A spirited scrimmage preceded a post-game reception. Check out the photo gallery  courtesy of Hofstra Athletics.

The series began in 2012 when the Pride visited Tokyo for a nine-day goodwill tour for the International Friendship Games. It was there that Hofstra played against the National Team of Japan, select all-star teams and three college teams. In 2014, the Pride conducted a scrimmage against Keio University of Tokyo on Long Island before this year’s scrimmage against Kyoto. Plans are currently being made for the Pride’s return to Japan following the 2016 season.

Ask anyone in the lacrosse community, and they’ll tell you it’s a small world. It was a connection between Towson Head Coach Shawn Nadelen and Israel Lacrosse Executive Director Scott Neiss that helped the Tigers’ contest come about. Nadelen and Neiss had worked together in the mid-2000s with the US World Indoor Team. Israel Lacrosse was planning an American tour and Neiss reached out to see if the Tigers would be interested in being one of the stops.

“It was an exciting opportunity for Towson Lacrosse and Towson University to host a great organization like the Israeli national program,” Nadelen said. “Towson lacrosse has a great tradition and history, people know about it worldwide. We appreciate having the opportunity to carry on the traditions and legacies of those before us. We were excited that we got to have this exhibition game and compete on the international stage.”

The exhibition game, held at Johnny Unitas® Stadium on October 10, followed international rules and pitted the Tigers up against some veterans of the international game. And those small world connections on a national stage brought former Tiger standout Casey Cittadino back to Towson as a member of Team Israel. Cittadino, who played in the MLL for eight seasons following his graduation in 2006, joined Team Israel in 2014. He helped the team go 6-2 overall in their first-ever Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships in 2014.

“It was a little eye-opening for our guys playing with international rules,” Nadelen said. “But it gave us an early chance to see what we have installed and how it matched up against them.”

The Tigers matched up well, going on to a 14-7 win. Check out the photo gallery from the scrimmage, courtesy of Towson Athletics.

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Rooting for @towsonswimdive So. Jack Saunderson this weekend at the Men's #NCAASwimDive title meet. Do work, Jack! What a career, Precious Hall, what a career. The Commish and Precious Hall are ready for tonight's #WNIT third round game. The Dukes tip vs. Nova at 7pm It was a @cofcsports sweep of #CAAGolfers of the Week. Shouts to seniors Laura Fuenfstueck & William Rainey 🏌⛳👍