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Scooping up accolades; alumnus set to play in 2018 World Lacrosse Championships

By Tanner Fricke   Alexander Rabin’s style of lacrosse at Western was enthralling to watch. His drive, passion and energy were contagious, former teammates said. Now he’ll be playing in the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel, from July 12-21, after being selected to the Israeli National Team. Rabin, whose family now lives in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, grew up on Bainbridge Island and is a 2016 Western graduate. He was the leading scorer on the men’s lacrosse team his senior year, netting 43 goals in 23 games. Currently a member of the Haifa Lacrosse Club in Haifa, Israel, part of the Israel Premier Lacrosse League, Rabin said it’s an honor to play for the national team. “Wearing the blue and white to represent Israel on the field is special, whether it's a team practice, exhibition match or otherwise,” Rabin said. “I've been lucky enough to suit up for the team and I’m thrilled with the opportunities around Israel lacrosse.” Zane Sharif, Rabin’s former teammate at Western, said he’s not surprised with the success Rabin’s gained so quickly. "It wasn’t shocking that Rabin made Team Israel,” Sharif said in an email. “He’s one of the most talented and dedicated players I’ve known. The caliber of talent for that kind of play takes years of dedication."

Alexander Rabin playing for the Haifa Lacrosse Club in July 2017, a professional team in Haifa Israel that's part of the Israel Premier Lacrosse League. // Photo courtesy of Alexander Rabin
Garrett Goshorn, a senior defender on Western men’s lacrosse team who played with Rabin for two years, said what sets Rabin apart from others is how he motivates those around him. "Playing with Rabin was always exciting because of how much he loves the game,” Goshorn said in an email. “He was always pushing us to be fast, so we could get the most out of practices. His personality was like his play style, very fast. Rabin definitely has the spark for great lacrosse, so it’s fitting where he’s playing right now. While Rabin has found success in lacrosse at Western and beyond, it isn’t as widespread as other sports in North America, making the audience difficult to reach. But that doesn’t mean the sport isn’t full of passion, Rabin said. “Lacrosse is not as large as football, soccer, basketball or baseball, but it's a tight-knit, mutualistic community full of ambition,” Rabin said. The most rewarding aspect of the game isn’t success, Rabin said, but in passing along knowledge. “The sport can take you around the world, as is my case, and it's important to give back to the sport,” Rabin said. “Seeing new players incorporate lacrosse into their lives here is a special experience. Ultimately, it's most impactful to be out here introducing and coaching the sport with a new generation of young athletes. That's the real reward.”
Alexander Rabin was Western lacrosse's leading scorer his senior year in 2016, netting 43 goals in 23 games and earning first-team all-conference honors. // Photo courtesy of Alexander Rabin
As Rabin fought his way to the national stage, it didn’t come without challenges. The idea of packing up his life and moving to a foreign country wasn’t something Rabin was on board with at first. “Initially, I was unsure of packing up shop and taking time to move to Israel,” Rabin said. “In other words, sacrificing [opportunities] at home for a new adventure abroad. It was something of excitement and fear all the same, but it was a crossroads that I'm ecstatic to have navigated.” Missing opportunities in Washington gave Rabin pause, but a brand-new landscape and an unseen set of challenges ended up winning him over. After stepping out of his comfort zone and adapting to a new environment, Rabin said he couldn’t help but feel he made the correct choice. Rabin said being a student at Western was a growing experience for him, and playing for the lacrosse team enriched not only his love for the game, but also his love for life. “Playing lacrosse at Western was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and helped me appreciate high-level lacrosse with an aspect of enjoyment,” Rabin said. “Being able to enjoy what you do is always important, be it academics, work, athletics or anything else. Western cultivated an appreciation for enjoying my time, regardless of what I'm doing. Enjoyment and passion lead to success.”

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