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Brennan O'Neill scored the tying and winning goals in his professional breakout game.

Outlaws Lean on Rookies, All About Atlas After Carolina Homecoming Weekend

June 9, 2024
Kenny DeJohn
Premier Lacrosse League

The Carolina Chaos hosted their first homecoming weekend in Charlotte, N.C., playing a doubleheader during the second week of the Premier Lacrosse League season. It wasn’t the Chaos, however, who took centerstage.

Instead, a once-in-a-lifetime draft pick and a team with perhaps the new top 1-2 punch in the PLL stole the limelight.


The Chaos took 12 fewer shots than the California Redwoods but played smothering second-half defense and scored the only goal of the fourth quarter — a Tye Kurtz finish off a feed from Josh Byrne — in a 12-11 win.

Carolina scored the final three goals of the game, with Kurtz sandwiching a Jules Heningburg score with eight seconds left in the third period. Austin Kaut, replacing Blaze Riorden as he recovers from a knee injury, made 16 saves (61.5 percent).

The third-quarter seesaw is what viewers will remember about the game. The sides entered halftime tied at 5, but the Chaos scored the first four goals after the break. The Redwoods then scored the six points, punctuated by Garrett Degnon’s two-point goal for an 11-9 lead with 2:34 left in the quarter.

Carolina then went on its game-ending run. California missed two shots in the final 62 seconds.

The Chaos couldn’t keep the momentum going on Saturday against the red-hot New York Atlas, though, losing 15-12 after allowing seven first-quarter points. The Atlas opened with two-point goals from Myles Jones and Tyler Carpenter, setting the tone early.


The Atlas are the only 3-0 team in the PLL, with Xander Dickson’s four points lifting New York past the Chaos. But the emerging league-best 1-2 punch of Jeff Teat and Connor Shellenberger combined for seven points (and seven ground balls).

There’s a distinct Virginia flavor on the Atlas, with Dox Aitken also contributing two goals.

Though the 15-12 final would seem to be a close contest, the Atlas dominated the box score. They won the ground ball battle 47-18, outshot Carolina 49-30 and won 20 of 27 faceoffs behind Trevor Baptiste’s 20-for-23 performance.

Most notably, Tim Troutner again started over Liam Entenmann and Drake Porter. Troutner made eight saves (44.4 percent).


Welcome to the pros, Brennan O’Neill. After a slow week one, O’Neill burst onto the scene in Carolina, posting nine points and the overtime winner for the Outlaws over the Utah Archers. He had seven goals (one two-point goal) and one assist.

Denver was led by its youth all evening, with rookie Luke Wierman dominating Mike Sisselberger at the faceoff dot. He won 23 of 36 draw attempts. Josh Zawada, another rookie and O’Neill’s Duke teammate in 2024, was second on the Outlaws with five points.

Utah built a 17-14 lead late in the fourth quarter when Tre Leclaire and Grant Ament scored 67 seconds apart. But Justin Anderson quickly answered, scoring 11 seconds after Ament to cut it to 17-15.

Then Graham Bundy — another one of Denver’s rookie class — put the Outlaws down 17-16 with 2:42 remaining.

O’Neill tied it 15 seconds later, leading to overtime, where he again scored to win it for Denver.


The Boston Cannons scored the first nine points of the second half, building enough cushion to withstand a late Maryland Whipsnakes rally in a 13-9 win.

Asher Nolting orchestrated the offense with a game-high six assists, while Marcus Holman had five points on four goals (one two-point goal). Ryan Drenner, Pat Kavanagh and Matt Campbell each scored twice.