2024 OWC Recap

ALBANY, NY - June 6, 2024 - Seventy-three teams took to the athletic fields at the University at Albany this past weekend at the second annual Opening Weekend Classic, a youth lacrosse tournament paired with the Premier Lacrosse League's opening weekend. Youth players, coaches, and family members lined the massive field complex with game action taking place on 11 fields. Upon the conclusion of the youth games, participants "stampeded" into Casey Stadium to witness the first of the 2024 PLL action.

"The Opening Weekend Classic is a unique lacrosse experience where participants are players in the morning and then fans in the afternoon...all at one venue" said Kevin Leveille, event director and VP of Sales & Strategy, PLL Play. "You could see the extra level of excitement on the faces of the players and family members as they entered the venue. It was surely going to be a good day".

The event was broken into two segments, Club and Community. PLL game tickets were included with team registrations.

37 club teams played 3 games over Friday evening and Saturday morning, and then attended the Saturday PLL games. Club teams traveled from all over New York and beyond and included The Edge (Ontario, CA), Buffalo Lakers (Buffalo), Harvest Lacrosse (Rochester), Grizzy Lacrosse (Rochester), Sweetlax (Rochester), Orange Crush (Syracuse), True Upstate (Syracuse), Coldbrook Lacrosse (Homer/Cortland), the Albany Power (Albany), and more.

36 Community teams played 2 games on Sunday morning ahead of day 2 of PLL play. The Community divisions featured many Albany staple lacrosse communities including Bethlehem, Columbia, Guilderland, Niskayuna, Saratoga, Shaker, and Shenendehowa, but also drew from well beyond the Capital District. Fairport (Rochester), Highlander (Vermont), Kingston Youth Lacrosse, Plattsburgh, and the Northern Valley Knights (New Jersey) all made the trip to experience the action.

"Our aim was to expand our reach across NYS and beyond in order to generate fresh competition and create new experiences for players and coaches alike. It was cool to see the teams battle in their games and then come together to support the Atlas, and all of their favorite teams and players."

The sixth season of the Premier Lacrosse League kicked off with a rematch of the 2023 Cash App Championship game, Utah Arches vs. the Philadelphia Waterdogs. Utah hung on as the Waterdogs pressed to push the game to OT. Game 2 on Saturday featured some highly anticipated pro debuts. Pat Kavanagh (Notre Dame) suited up with his brother Matt for the Cannons and on the other side, Connor Shellenberger (University of Virginia) was in the lineup for home team, New York Atlas. The Atlas dominated behind big performances by Shellenberger (8 pts) and Jeff Teat (11 pts). Sunday action featured the return of the Denver Outlaws, who came up short to a strong Carolina Chaos team who posted 7 fourth quarter goals to win 16-11. Brennan O'Neil (Duke) made his PLL debut in the game. The fourth and final game of the weekend was the Maryland Whipsnakes vs. New York Atlas. Playing on back-to-back days to defend their home turf, the Atlas once again followed a Jeff Teat performance to end the weekend at 2-0, matching their total win output of 2023 in week 1.

"I'm confident that this weekend provided a deeper and greater interest in the game for all who participated, including parents, coaches, and especially the players", Leveille said.