Yale Well-Represented at Upcoming World Cup

Jenna Block and Sara Greenberg. (photos by Larry Palumbo)
Jenna Block and Sara Greenberg. (photos by Larry Palumbo)

Alums Block and Greenberg, and Assistant Coach Kotowicz, Competing in International Tournament

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale will be well-represented at the upcoming Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's Lacrosse World Cup. Two former players -- attacker Jenna Block '10 and midfielder Sara Greenberg '09 -- will be playing for Israel. Additionally, assistant coach Tanya Kotowicz is an alternate for Germany. The World Cup, which features 19 teams, will be held at the Oshawa Civic Recreation Centre near Toronto, Canada, from July 11-20.

The Women's Lacrosse World Cup dates back to 1982 and is held every four years. The United States has won the championship six times, including the last championship (2009). Australia (two) is the only other country to have won.

Block and Greenberg, who were teammates at Yale in 2007 and helped the Bulldogs make the NCAA Tournament with a 13-3 regular season record that year, will be a part of Israel's first World Cup appearance. The team's roster is composed of Israeli players as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the FIL. The roster was selected after a series of tryouts at HaYarkon Sportek in Tel Aviv and the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., as well as an extensive interview process.

Block and Greenberg were also a part of Israel's debut at the European Lacrosse Championship Festival in Amsterdam last summer. They wound up helping Israel win the festival championship.

Block, a native of Owings Mills, Md., received her Master's degree in public health from Columbia in 2012 and is now working as a healthcare consultant with The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C.  She appeared in 50 games for the Bulldogs from 2007 through 2010, leading the team in assists in her junior year (23, tied for ninth in Yale history) and her senior year (13). She finished her career with 28 goals and 40 assists, tied for 11th on Yale's career assists list.

Greenberg, a native of Gladwyne, Pa., was working in venture capital and doing research at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs last year when Block contacted her about joining the Israeli team. Greenberg is now in graduate school at Harvard, pursuing a Master's in business administration and a Master's in public policy. She appeared in 29 games for the Bulldogs from 2006 to 2007, totaling 22 goals and four assists.

In conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program, each Israeli player will be competing in honor of a charity of her choosing. A portion of the national team's general fundraising efforts has been committed to each charity. Block is playing for Shanti House, an organization that serves and supports at-risk youth who are victims of physician violence, sexual abuse, crime and prostitution. Greenberg is playing for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), an organization established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors to provide for the wellbeing of the men and women who serve in the IDF as well as the families of fallen soldiers. 

Kotowicz is German on her father's side and therefore qualifies to play for Germany. She is a former two-time UConn team captain who spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Hofstra before joining the Yale staff in the fall of 2012. Her international playing experience includes time as a member of the Wilderness Lacrosse Team in Adelaide, Australia, in 2003. She also served as a coach with the MAAC All-Star Team in Tokyo, Japan, during the summer of 2006. In January 2010 she was on the coaching staff of the USA Athletes International Lacrosse team that won the gold medal at the Southern Cross Lacrosse Challenge in Australia. She also served as a guest coach for the English National Team in January 2011.

Kotowicz is a native of Hicksville, N.Y. Including camps and clinics, her efforts to spread the game of lacrosse have taken her to 13 different states along with Australia, England and Japan.  She has also worked to spread the game in developing areas throughout the United States, including Georgia, Hawaii and Washington.

Germany finished 10th at the last World Cup (2009), going 1-3 in pool play and then winning two games in the placement matches before falling to the Czech Republic 15-5 in the ninth-place game. The Germans' best World Cup finish was eighth in 2001.

The 19 teams at the World Cup are divided up into four pools. As part of "Pool D", Germany and Israel each have three games against the other teams in the pool -- including one against each other on July 11. 

Two wins in pool play will guarantee Germany or Israel an appearance in the 12-team "Championship Bracket" playoff. "Crossover" matches on July 15 and July 16 will determine seeding and serve as tiebreakers if necessary. There will also be a seven-team "Diamond Consolation Bracket".

The World Cup Championship Bracket and Diamond Consolation Bracket playoffs begin on July 17. The gold medal game is July 20 at 3:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity