Brennan O’Neill led the United States’ offense with a hat trick against Canada on Wednesday night at Snapdragon Stadium in a 7-5 win.
O’Neill is the only collegiate player on the team, otherwise full of professional players who compete in the PLL and NLL. The Bay Shore, N.Y., native completed his junior season at Duke this spring with 55 goals and 42 assists in 19 games, winning the 2023 Tewaaraton Award given to the nation’s top men’s lacrosse player.
O’Neill has already impressed for the United States, leading the U21 team to a gold medal in August of 2022 in Ireland with team bests of 18 goals and 25 points. He carried his incredible offensive record into his very first game for the senior team, against its biggest rival in international lacrosse in front of a home crowd.
“We see him do it every day in practice, so we know he can do it,” said Rob Pannell, a veteran of the team playing in his third Men’s Championship. “It’s great to have him come out here and do it, just for his own confidence, to know that he belongs out here, not that he doesn’t know that.”
“He is the only college guy on the team, but we couldn’t be more excited to have him here, continued Pannell. “He’s a great kid, a great person off the field, most importantly, and that translates to his play on the field as well.”
O’Neill’s second goal came with just over a minute to play in the first half, tying the game at 4-4 and giving the USA momentum heading into halftime after a back-and-forth affair. It was a spectacular effort from long distance.
“We know he can shoot, dodge – he’s the ultimate threat,” concluded Pannell. “I think we’re just looking forward to building that chemistry.”
O’Neill’s third goal came on another outstanding finish to cap the hosts’ dominant third quarter. The underhand assist came from Tom Schreiber, a USA captain and legend of the game.
“As you get older, the better the players are around you and the easier it is to play,” said O’Neill to USA Lacrosse. “It’s so fun playing with guys who can pass at any time and are such skilled players. Any time you play with guys that good, it makes it easy for you.”