CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany and six former UVA players in Zed Williams (’17), Ryan Conrad (’19), Charlie Bertrand (’21), Jackson Appelt (’21), Griffin Spolansky (’19) and Dickson Smith ‘(16) are set to compete at the 2023 World Lacrosse Championship (June 21-July 1) in San Diego, California.
Tiffany was named head coach of the Haudenosaunee Nationals team (formerly Iroquois) on Nov. 1, 2022. A native of LaFayette, New York, Tiffany grew up near the Onondaga Nation reservation, where he was introduced to the game of lacrosse. He served as an assistant coach for the Haudenosaunee Nationals at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship in Israel and helped the team earn the bronze medal.
Joining Tiffany as a member of the Haudenosaunee Nationals is Williams, who played both attack and midfield during his time at UVA. However, at this year’s world championship Williams will compete with a long pole. Upon graduating from UVA, Williams has enjoyed a successful stint in the professional ranks, including the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). In 2020, Williams led the Whipsnakes to a PLL championship and was named MVP of the Championship Series.
Representing the reigning world champions and top-seeded United States are Conrad and Bertrand, who kick off the World Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday (June 21) when the U.S. takes on Canada. Opening faceoff is set for 10 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
Conrad made his U.S. debut at the 2016 U19 World Championship in Coquitlam, British Columbia (Canada), where the United States won gold. He scored the game-winning goal to cap a dramatic comeback for the U.S. Conrad returned to the program helping the Sixes team win a silver medal at The World Games 2022, which was held in Birmingham, Alabama last summer. Conrad then aided the Waterdogs capture their first PLL championship on Sept. 18, 2022.
This year’s World Lacrosse Championship marks Bertrand’s first as a member of the U.S. national team. Bertrand won three NCAA titles during his collegiate career, two at Merrimack (2018-19) and one at Virginia (2021). He is the only player on the United States’ roster to have played for a non-Division I program. Bertrand currently competes for the PLL’s Redwoods and most recently the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Las Vegas Desert Dogs.
Appelt and Spolansky will represent Israeli national team, while Smith is a member of the Sweden national team. The two teams begin their world championship bid by going head-to-head on Thursday (June 22) at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Appelt is a two-time NCAA champion, having been a member of both the 2019 and 2021 Virginia teams. In 2020, he was the recipient of the men’s Division-I Yeardley Reynolds Love (“YRL”) Unsung Hero Award by the One Love Organization.
Spolansky joined the Cavaliers as a walk-on the fall of 2016. His four-year collegiate career was capped by UVA’s 2019 NCAA championship. During the program’s sixth NCAA title run, Spolansky appeared in 13 games, contributing as a faceoff wing and on the Cavaliers’ man-down unit.
Smith played LSM at UVA from 2013-16. He made 16 career appearances, including 11 in 2016 under former head coach Dom Starsia. In 2012, Smith won bronze with the Swedish national team at the 2012 European Lacrosse Championship.
This year marks the 14th edition of the men’s World Championship and features 30 teams vying for the sport’s biggest prize. Twenty teams earned their spot in the championships after the first-ever set of continental qualifiers over the past two years.
The United States is hosting for the fourth time having previously hosted in 1982, 1988 and 2014. The U.S. defeated Canada in the most recent championship – in 2018 – having scored the gold-medal-winning goal with one second remaining.
San Diego State’s newly constructed 32,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium is the site of the opening and closing ceremonies, opening game, semifinals, and medal games. Meanwhile, USD’s Torero Stadium (6,000) is slated to host a majority of featured tournament games. All remaining games will take place on SDSU’s campus among four adjacent fields, anchored by SDSU Sports Deck, the 1,500-seat home of the university’s soccer programs.
The 30 teams are split into six pools of five, with the top five nations in the rankings Pool A. The top two A pool teams will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the remaining three teams from the A pool will join the top nine teams from pools B-F (five first-place finishers and four second-place finishers) in the first round of the playoffs on June 27 to determine the remaining teams in the quarterfinals, which kick off on June 28. Full information on seeding, format and progression for pool play can be found here.