Spending two summer weeks in Finland is likely not high on the to do list for most college students. But for West Islip’s Kyle Turri, his recent trip to the northern European country provided him with a host of memories that will last him a lifetime.
This past Saturday, Turri and his Team USA teammates won the U-19 lacrosse 2012 World Championships, defeating Canada 10-8, and continuing a string of American gold medals that date back to the tournament’s start in 1988.
While the U.S. won its seventh consecutive gold, the 2012 squad was the first American team to lose in tournament play, falling to Canada and the Iroquois Nationals. But the Americans got their revenge, defeating Iroquois in the semi-finals and Canada in the finals.
Turri, a goaltender who in just a few weeks will begin his sophomore season at Duke University, spoke with West Islip Patch about the U.S. win and his experience in Finland playing for Team USA.
Patch: Describe the experience playing for Team USA.
Kyle Turri: It was great being able to represent our country and being able to wear the jersey. As a team, we had a very short time to work together and had only a couple of training camps.
P: What were you feeling once you started the tournament?
KT: There were a lot of nerves and a lot of pressure since the U.S. had won six golds in a row. We kept saying throughout the tournament that a silver or bronze medal was not acceptable. I think our talent and our experience helped overcome our nerves.
P: What was the feeling on the team after the losses to Canada and Iroquois?
KT: We were shocked after the Iroquois loss. After that game we had a players only meeting and realized that we were not going to just roll through the tournament. Following that meeting, I think we became more of a family and took things much more personally.
P: Were there any tactical changes made following the team meeting?
KT: Offensively we moved the ball a lot more and focused on not forcing plays.
P: When the U.S. won the gold medal, what were your thoughts immediately after the game?
KT: I was just so excited and stunned I wasn’t sure what to feel. It was so important to every guy on the team to win and be a world champion.
P: Between games, what did the team do to fill the hours?
KT: We were always busy but were able to go out to dinner with our families. (Turri’s parents Nancy and Bill made the trip to Finland.) We also became good friends with the team from England and would play Xbox with them. We also found a gym and would play floor hockey as well. Those games got pretty intense.
P: As you look back on the tournament what impact did playing have on your career?
KT: It made me a much better player. We played some intense lacrosse. Most guys are playing in a summer league that doesn’t really matter. As a team we became close and I’m sure I’ll continue to talk to every single guy on the team.