World Lax: USA brings home gold for second consecutive tournament

Team USA celebrates. (Photo courtesy of World Lacrosse)

Hey Alexa, play the Star Spangled Banner. The United States of America are your 2023 World Lacrosse Championship gold medalists for the second consecutive tournament. The USA downed their neighbors to the north, a very stout Canada team, 10-7 in Saturday night’s final game in San Diego, California. These two clubs are world lacrosse juggernauts and it was very evident all game long. Let’s get to the action.

Spoiler alert right out of the gate, Brennan O’Neill for the USA is a STUD and he went OFF in this game. The Duke Blue Devil got the USA on the board first, and was followed up by Captain America himself, Tom Schreiber. Dhane Smith got Canada on the board to close out the first. 2-1 USA after one.

Another three-pack of goals were scored in the second quarter, with the US scoring two and Canada scoring one. Clarke Petterson got the goal for Canada and Michael Sowers got one for the US on the man-up and O’Neill got the other, his second of the game. 4-2 USA going into the break.

“They’re really very patient and they’re playing very disciplined,” said USA head coach John Danowski regarding his team’s stifling defense when it’s six-on-six. “Brennan (O’Neill) has been big in these situations and I think his teammates are really encouraging him.”

Canada crept a bit closer to begin the third quarter, as Josh Byrne and Dyson Williams scored back-to-back. But momma, there goes that man again. O’Neill got his hat trick and was followed up by Kieran McArdle’s first. 6-4 USA going into the final frame.

The fourth quarter saw a flurry of scoring. Canada did everything they could, but as you’ll see, the USA had the answer every time Canada scored. Byrne got his second of the game, but was answered by Charlie Bertrand. Smith got his second, but was answered by O’Neill’s fourth. Byrne got his hat trick to make it 8-7 with about five minutes to play, but that’d be it for the Canadian scoring. O’Neill got his fifth with an amazing individual effort, and Sowers buried an empty-netter for his second. Your final, 10-7 USA. The gold medals stay in the States. It may have been Canada Day up north, but it also is 4th of July weekend stateside.

“It’s the players, it’s the culture that they respond to,” said Danowski after the game. “I really believe that they love each other and that they wanted to play for one another.”

There isn’t much left to say about O’Neill. The fact that he’s still in college is downright silly and to say that he will have an immediate impact at the professional level, would be an understatement. The youngster won MVP for the tournament with 15 total goals and five assists. Unreal stuff from the kid.

The World Lacrosse Championship takes place every four years. I, for one, am all about living in the moment. But man, is it 2027 yet? Lacrosse rules.