Sewickley Academy's Jackson O'Neill excells in goal for soccer, lacrosse teams
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Jackson O'Neill's start as a goalie in two sports came from circumstance.
The sophomore began playing lacrosse in fifth grade and eventually took over the spot when there was no one else to fill the role. Several years later, a similar set of circumstances happened on the soccer field.
“No one was the goalie when I was playing lacrosse when I was younger,” O'Neill said.
“I felt like I would be good at it. Then everyone knew I was a lacrosse goalie so they thought I would be good as a goalie in soccer.
“When they had two seniors two years ago, they told me to get ready because this past year I would start. It worked pretty well because we won a state title.”
After a breakout season on the soccer field in which he recorded 14 shutouts to help the Panthers win a state title, O'Neill is stepping into the full-time starting role with the lacrosse team. He started nearly half the games last season while learning the ropes of high school lacrosse.
“It gave me good experience,” O'Neill said. “It got me used to the shots. The players are bigger and a lot better so it was a jump from middle school lacrosse. In high school you have to go in more mentally prepared to play.”
While some teams would be concerned about throwing an underclassman into the fire, Sewickley Academy coach Tim Hastings praised the effort and dedication of O'Neill.
“We have total confidence in him,” Hastings said. “He started a number of games last season. This is something he decided he wants to do and has worked really hard at it.”
Hastings added the confidence O'Neill found during the soccer team's run to WPIAL and PIAA Class A titles cannot be manufactured.
“You cannot substitute the pressure he has faced winning a state championship in soccer,” Hastings sad. “That is going to translate onto the lacrosse field. We are glad we have him.”
The strength of the team early in the season had been its defense. The Panthers installed a new offense that focuses on movement rather than having players try to take opponents 1-on-1. The scheme has taken time to develop so the play of O'Neill — along with defenders Pat Bowles, Sam Klaber and Beloit College commit Barrett Fowkes — has kept the Panthers in games. Sewickley Academy is giving up only five goals per game in WPIAL play.
“The defense is keeping us in games,” Hastings said. “The new offensive scheme is taking time to get it down so we need the defense to continue to play well until the offense starts clicking.”
Sewickley Academy travels to Shady Side Academy for an 8 p.m. start Tuesday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Federal appeals court appears divided on Obama’s immigrant deportation shield
- Penguins pushing to sell playoff tickets
- Golf outing bolsters cancer patient fund at Kittanning hospital
- Groups looking to stage Day of Prayer at new school in Manor
- Marte’s bat, Worley’s arm show improvement in Pirates win
- Armstrong’s roads less-traveled get funding for drainage improvements
- Butler County new home sales surge in 2014
- Penguins stars Crosby, Malkin enduring playoff slump
- Armstrong gets fourth officer trained to spot drugged drivers
- Mackey: For Pens’ Winnik, playing with Crosby an ongoing process
- Highmark asks patients to ‘Meet Dr. Right’