Lacrosse Teams Get Set to Clash
Published: October 19, 2011 (Issue # 1679)
The St. Petersburg White Knights train in preparation for Saturday’s match.
A group of St. Petersburg students will make sporting history Saturday when they compete against Moscow in Russia’s first ever lacrosse match.
Although lacrosse has been played in Russia since 2007, only recently have significant steps forward been made in the game’s development. The St. Petersburg White Knights have played the Moscow Rebels on two previous occasions, but this will be the first time both teams have fielded a full side of ten men.
As the only two lacrosse clubs in the country, a lot is at stake for both teams. Both have previously won one of the previous two encounters and the series is drawn at 1 – 1. The 2011 Capitals Cup, to be held in Moscow this Saturday, will be the deciding factor in who claims the title of National Champion.
“Saturday’s match will break the tie and determine the current ruler of Russian lacrosse,” said David Diamonon, founder of the Moscow Rebels lacrosse club. “The Moscow Rebels’ and St. Petersburg White Knights’ contributions will be etched into the annals of lacrosse history.”
Originating from Native American war games, lacrosse is traditionally played in North America, with small but dedicated followings in the U.K., Australia and central Europe. The sport requires two teams of ten men to pass, catch and shoot a rubber ball with netted sticks in order to score in the opposition’s six-by-six-foot (1.8-square-meter) goal.
Dmitry Petrov, 21, a physics student and captain of the St. Petersburg White Knights, founded the local club in 2008. While at first the team consisted only of Russian students, Petrov said they soon found foreign students who wanted to play and make the most of their time in Russia. The team is currently a mixture of Russian, American and British students.
Petrov said Saturday’s match would be about a lot more than just winning.
The team is currently a mixture of Russian, American and British students.
“This is really about the development of lacrosse in Russia,” he said. “We need more teams and more people playing.
“Students in particular really want to get involved, we just need to get the word out there.”
Last month, Russia was granted membership to the Federation of International Lacrosse. There are plans to form a national team with hopes of playing in the 2014 World Championship.
“I want to play in Europe and show them what we can do here,” Petrov said. “We can make something out of nothing and the world needs to know that.”
Speaking about the development of Russian lacrosse, Diamonon said, “As a nation full of sports fans, Russia is ripe for introducing new games. Compared to sports long since entrenched in Russia such as soccer, ice hockey and basketball, to name only a few, lacrosse offers opportunities for athletes interested in exploring something new, something different, something cooler.”
The 2011 Capitals Cup will take place at