Weddington alum Colby Barsz makes professional lacrosse debut in Charlotte

A Mecklenburg County native made his professional debut in his hometown.

Colby Barsz, a stout defender who graduated from Weddington High School, was drafted in the third round of last month’s Premier Lacrosse League draft.

He tallied three ground balls and a caused turnover in his first game for the Utah Archers, an 18-17 overtime thriller on Friday night at American Legion Memorial Stadium.

During a standout senior season with the Warriors, Barsz recorded 52 ground balls and 32 takeaways. A first-team All-State pick, Barsz was named to the All-Observer First Team in 2019.

The Matthews native started throughout his four-year career at Towson University, a Division-I school north of Baltimore. He achieved First Team All-CAA honors as a sophomore and became an All-American by his senior year.

Chaos fall to unbeaten Atlas: ‘An opportunity to get tougher’

The Carolina Chaos battled in a 15-12 loss on another sunny evening on Saturday at American Legion Memorial Stadium, but couldn’t overcome the New York Atlas.

The Atlas (3-0) is a strong team, led by recent Virginia standout Connor Shellenberger, along with Jeff Teat, a three-time PLL All-Star who was a top college player at Cornell. The Atlas took the lead early on Saturday, but the Chaos (2-1) continually kept the game within reach.

“It’s an opportunity to get tougher,” Chaos head coach Andy Towers said. “It’s an eight-team league. Everybody has their ‘home games.’ We feed off of the passion that the people in Carolina have for supporting lacrosse and sports in general. We feel incredibly fortunate that they have welcomed us in the way that they did.

“We’re very, very excited to come back here and play next year. Looking ahead, we feel an added responsibility of representing the passion that they have and making sure that we come out and reward them for the support they’ve given us.”

The PLL team that will call Albany, New York, its home base is this season’s final undefeated team. The Chaos still holds first place in the Western Conference standings.

Carolina, playing on back-to-back days beneath the scorching sun, didn’t back down. The team kept pushing — but couldn’t stop the dominant Trevor Baptiste at the face-off X.

“I think we have the best fan base out of all the teams here,” Ross Scott, who scored two goals on three shots, said postgame. “We had people showing up in masks, and everybody was showing out for us. It was really awesome, and we got to build a lot of energy from it.

“I’m really excited to come back here next year and keep building off that. I’m really happy that I have a fan base like this, and so many people that support us. It was surreal, coming out here and seeing all the Chaos stuff in the stands.”

Duke Blue Devils attack Brennan O’Neill (34) controls the ball against Penn State Nittany Lions defender Will Costin (28) at Lincoln Financial.
Duke Blue Devils attack Brennan O’Neill (34) controls the ball against Penn State Nittany Lions defender Will Costin (28) at Lincoln Financial.

Recent Duke star has legendary performance in epic comeback

Brennan O’Neill, the first overall pick in this year’s PLL draft, continued turning heads in a come-from-behind overtime thriller.

The winner of the 2023 Tewaaraton Award — commonly known as the “Heisman of lacrosse” — poured in six of his seven goals during the fourth quarter and overtime, lifting his Denver Outlaws to their remarkable 18-17 victory on Friday night.

The Outlaws were trailing the Utah Archers by seven goals in the final quarter of regulation. O’Neill, named the nation’s top player in his final year at Duke and widely regarded as a generational talent, put together an all-time performance from a rookie in professional lacrosse.

“When you have Brennan O’Neill on your side and he decides to take over the game in the fourth quarter, it’s pretty special to watch,” Outlaws head coach Tim Soudan said. “I was as much a fan as everybody sitting in the stands watching what he was capable of.”

Results from this weekend’s PLL games in Charlotte

The Carolina Chaos topped the California Redwoods in a 12-11 thriller to kick off the action.

The Denver Outlaws came back to down the Utah Archers in a wild 18-17 overtime contest.

The Carolina Chaos fell short in a 15-12 loss to the New York Atlas.

The Boston Cannons earned a 13-9 victory over the Maryland Whipsnakes.