Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2023

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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22 AUGUST 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY JACK SOBLE N otre Dame men's lacrosse was stunned on Selection Sunday 2022. The Irish were confident they would make the 18-team NCAA Tournament, but they weren't certain. They believed if they got in, they could make a run to the national champion- ship. With two bubble teams to go, the Irish still weren't in. No. 6 Rutgers' opponent: Harvard. One bid left. No. 7 Cornell's opponent … Ohio State. Notre Dame didn't make it. The com- mentators on ESPNU couldn't believe it. At 8-4, the Irish were planted firmly on the bubble, but they thought their six- game winning streak to close out the regular season — and a win over Duke in the final game — would be enough. The watch party turned silent. Before long, players trickled out onto the field, where fifth-years and seniors hugged each other, knowing they had played their last game in blue and gold. "As a younger guy, I didn't know what to expect," sophomore attackman Chris Kavanagh said. "It was pretty heart- breaking, honestly." Notre Dame was shocked, but with a slow start to the season, they had left it to chance. And they knew it. "We had to look within ourselves, and realize the things we did right, the things we did wrong and how we can move forward from there," senior goalie Liam Entenmann said. "Ultimately, it at least played some role in helping us win the championship." STOPPING PRACTICE Notre Dame got to work after missing the tournament, acquiring three players with NCAA championship experience in the transfer portal to a roster that had zero in 2022: defenseman Chris Fake and midfielder Brian Tevlin from Yale, and midfielder Jack Simmons from Virginia. "We knew that we had all the pieces to win," said senior attackman Pat Ka- vanagh, Chris' brother and the team's leading scorer with 77 points (Chris was second with 62). "We just thought that it was our year the entire year." The Irish went 10-2 in the regular sea- son and earned the No. 3 national seed. Both losses came at the hands of Virginia, whom they had not defeated since 2018. As longtime Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan explained, the Cavaliers were a bad matchup for his group. "They're deep, long and athletic," Corrigan said. "It's funny, they struggle with a big, powerful guy like [NCAA leading scorer] Brennan O'Neill from Duke, but they're very good against smaller, quicker guys like Chris and Pat." Pat Kavanagh thought the Irish played poorly against Virginia in a 15-10 loss LEAVING NO DOUBT LEAVING NO DOUBT The Irish men's lacrosse team defeats Duke 13-9 to capture its first national championship and gains vindication from last year's NCAA snub

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