Moon Township, PA -- Former Robert Morris University men’s lacrosse midfielder Mike Grosz had a unique experience this past summer as he was a member of the first-ever Israeli National Lacrosse Team, competing in over a dozen games while representing the Middle Eastern nation.
Grosz was a key cog to the Israeli offense as he posted 37 points, including 27 goals, in 19 overall games and also served as the team’s top faceoff man. He also had the distinction of scoring Israel’s first-ever international goal, which came against Turkey in Istanbul’s Buzzer Lacrosse Cup.
Grosz assembled with 42 other players in Ashkelon, Israel for a five-day training camp before embarking to continental Europe for two tournaments and a couple of friendlies.
Israel opened its summer by facing Turkey and opened up a 6-0 lead en route to a 13-9 win. Grosz scored the first goal in program history just three minutes into the game, setting off a brief mid-game ceremony as referee Henning Schmidt reacted by halting play to present the ball to Israel head coach Bill Beroza.
“It was kind of surreal,” Grosz said to Israel Lacrosse. “It was really a special moment for our team and our program as a whole. We’ve really bonded as a family since training camp began in Ashkelon, and I think everyone on our team took pride in what we’ve accomplished so far.”
Grosz was an all-around force in his opening game as he scored four goals and added three assists. He then helped Israel to its second straight win as he netted four more goals and an assist in a 16-9 victory over Bulgaria.
Israel then had friendlies with the Netherlands and Switzerland before upsetting No. 9 Ireland, 12-11.
Grosz then competed in the EC12 Festival Tournament, held in Amsterdam, which consisted of elite American teams, national development teams and European club teams from countries such as Germany, England, Ireland and the Netherlands. Israel went 11-0 in group play to earn the top seed for the elimination portion of the event.
Grosz had one goal and one assist in the team’s 8-3 semifinal win over Ireland-based club Eire. Grosz then provided a goal in the team’s 9-4 championship victory over the U.S.-based Global Players team, which featured several NCAA student-athletes, including players from Colgate and Michigan. Israel went a perfect 14-0 in the EC12 Festival and was 17-2 overall in the 19 games in which Grosz was on the squad.
After concluding with the competitive games, Grosz traveled back to Israel where he participated in over 20 clinics, putting lacrosse sticks into the hands of over 1,500 children for the first time.
Grosz is RMU’s all-time leader in both ground balls (257) and ground balls per game (5.04) and won over 500 faceoffs in his four years on the field. He holds three of the top four marks for single-season ground balls, including the record of 113 that he set in his senior season, and each of the top three marks in single-season faceoff wins. Grosz incredibly owns eight of the top nine single-game highs for GB at Robert Morris and won a school-record 28 faceoffs in a single game in the 2012 home opener against Colgate. He earned All-Northeast Conference (NEC) honors as a specialist in his senior season and contributed four goals and four assists in 51 career games.
The RMU men's lacrosse team registered a program-record 11 wins in 2012, including running through NEC play undefeated to claim the league's regular-season title. The Colonials knocked off a pair of nationally-ranked squads during the campaign, including a 9-7 road victory at Ohio State, and entered the Nike/Inside Lacrosse national rankings after a six-game winning streak. Head coach Andrew McMinn was named NEC Coach of the Year in voting conducted by his peers as he helped 10 of his student-athletes earn all-conference honors while RMU also claimed the league's Team GPA and Team Sportsmanship Awards.