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Dyson Williams gestures to the crowd at Tierney Field after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.

Canada Defeats United States in Fall Classic Thriller

October 13, 2023
Matt DaSilva
John Strohsacker

Box Score

SPARKS, Md. — What Dyson Williams did Friday night at Tierney Field will not erase the sting of what transpired 104 days earlier in San Diego.

But for the first time since 2014, Canada defeated the United States in a senior men’s field lacrosse competition, the significance of which was not lost on Williams.

A fifth-year senior attackman at Duke and the No. 1 overall pick in the National Lacrosse League draft, Williams scored late in regulation and then again in overtime to lift the Canadians to a 12-11 victory at the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic.

“It’s an exhibition and it’s not working toward a medal, but at the end of the day it’s Canada vs. USA,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be prouder to wear the maple leaf and play alongside these guys.”

Williams was on the other side when his Duke teammate Brennan O’Neill put on an MVP performance to lead the U.S. to a 10-7 victory in the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship gold medal game.

“Still a sour taste in our mouth after July 1,” he said. “I still think about it every day.”

The teams that took the field Friday bore little resemblance to the ones that played each other three months ago. For the U.S, it was a completely new set of 23 players. For Canada, the lone holdovers were Williams, faceoff man Justin Inacio (10-for-16), short stick Casey Wilson and defenseman Patrick Shoemay.

Just like that, it’s onto 2027. And maybe, probably, the Olympics in 2028.

“The youth of the USA team is in a good spot,” said U.S. attackman Asher Nolting, a second-year pro who was part of the 2023 U.S. training team and led the Americans with two goals and two assists Friday. “We showed a lot today. We’ve just got to get used to this style of lacrosse.”

Nolting said shifting gears from Premier Lacrosse League to World Lacrosse rules is like going from Formula One racing to riding a bike. That analogy came to fruition in the final minute as the U.S. clung to a one-goal lead and attempted to run out the clock.

Canadian defenseman Owen Grant — who had to be replaced on the world championship roster after he sustained an ankle injury playing in a PLL game the week before — stripped the ball from Nolting with 31 seconds left to give Canada a chance to send the game to overtime.

Williams did just that, thanks in part to a daring and beautiful behind-the-back pass from the wing by Jonathan Peshko. Wide open on the crease, Williams scored with 10 seconds left in regulation.

While the U.S. struggled to win faceoffs (9-for-27) throughout the night, Petey LaSalla emerged with the ball after the opening draw of overtime. Mac O’Keefe had a chance to win it, but his shot was blocked.

The ball caromed back toward midfield. U.S. defenseman Brett Makar corralled it, but Williams checked his stick to knock the ball out of bounds and give Canada possession.

After an errant shot by Thomas McConvey, midfielder Sam English rifled a pass through a sea of sticks to find Williams on the doorstep. In one fluid motion, Williams caught the ball and scored to give Canada the sudden-death victory.

Logan Wisnauskas scored a team-high three goals for the U.S. O’Keefe and Matt Campbell added two goals apiece.

Ross Scott led Canada with four goals, Mike Robinson had a hat trick and English finished with two goals and an assist.

Jack Oldman, a freshman at Ohio State, teamed up with Inacio and went 8-for-10 on faceoffs.

Both teams are back in action Saturday against NCAA semifinalist Penn State. It’s USA-Penn State at 3 p.m. EST, followed by Canada-Penn State at 5:30 p.m. EST. Both games will be streamed live on USA Lacrosse’s YouTube channel.