Anyone else get out for wall ball work this week? I hope so. I was out there on Tuesday afternoon this week, getting in the time and getting ready.
And if you are laughing at a 46-year old man getting out and hitting the wall, then you probably don’t understand the passion for the sport of lacrosse and what a lot of us feel about this game....we just love it.
But enough about me, it’s time to get you all caught up on our Fighting Irish lacrosse team and what has been going on here recently.
The news around the team, and specifically on how they have been looking has been light, trying to find word out of practice has been tough. Hoping that soon enough we get a look at the Irish through the Inside Lacrosse “Fall All-Access” previews. These have been awesome, tons of information on a variety of teams and how they are shaping up for the spring. They are must reads for die-hard lacrosse fans.
For those of you who do want an inside look at the Irish, Mitch Pehlke did a 30 minute feature on the Notre Dame lacrosse team that is probably one of the more inside looks that we have ever seen on the Irish. It is a little bit similar to Paul Carcaterra’s feature on the Kavanagh brothers last year, but think more in depth and at a larger breadth with interviews with the coaches, getting to know some of the players, seeing what a day in the life of an ND lacrosse player is like, and then almost a “cribs” feature highlighting one of the lacrosse houses.
Really cool to see interviews with Coach Corrigan along with Coach Wellner, Coach Chris Wojcik and Coach Garnsey. And while we got some shots of practice, we did not get a ton of insight into how the team is looking and what has been taking place this fall. In the interviews with the players it was good to hear them say that they had turned the page from last year, that this is a different team and that their mindset has shifted to the upcoming season and just getting better each day.
Whether said or not, this will probably be one of the biggest story lines of this season and making sure the team does not rest on last year’s championship. While the 2023 team was able to lean heavily into the disappointment of the 2022 season and not getting picked for the tourney, the 2024 team is going to have to find a new motivation as every other team will be gunning for them, looking to knock off the top dog. This will be a new position for the Irish as they have always been the hunter, but now they are the hunted. It will be up to the coaches and the leadership of the team to make sure that the mindset of the team is clear and focused. It is a comforting feeling that this team has a ton of leadership coming back led by guys like Pat and Chris Kavanagh, Liam Entenmann, Marco Napolitano, Max Manyak, Ross Burgmaster, Jake Taylor, Eric Dobson, Fulton Bayman, Colin Hagstrom, Bryce Walker, Reilly Gray, Carter Parlette, Conrad Delgado, Nick Harris, Sam Assaf and others (sorry if I missed some names here).
This is a veteran group and I think this will be a big part of the success for this year’s team.
The other unknown that we have not heard too much on this fall is how the new players are fitting in, whether across the freshman or the graduate transfers. With so many of the positions being knowns this upcoming season, I am looking forward to seeing where our four graduate transfers - Jake Bonomi, Devon McLane, Danny Parker and BJ Burlace fit in. We all know what a difference our four grad transfers made last year, can this year’s group do the same? Time will tell.
Secondly, do any of the freshman jump out and come to the forefront, similar to a Will Donovan last year. We know at least one spot is up for grabs across close defense, might we see someone like freshman Shawn Lyght step up and grab a starting spot? Where does Jordan Faison fit in after missing fall ball with the football team? All questions that will start to come together in the coming weeks and months.
From a podcast standpoint, it was great to hear Ryder Garnsey on the Lacrosse All Stars Podcast Network. Good insight into his career as a member of the PLL and how he has evolved as a coach at Notre Dame. Fun listen when you have the chance.
Lastly, what can you all expect from me this year? With ND’s football season winding down, the ND lacrosse writing will start to ramp up here soon. Can’t wait for the championship defense to get underway, and with Notre Dame being the king of the jungle right now, it is going to be so fun to see what the boys can do as they get the 2024 season underway. And being on top, it reminds me of one of my favorite lines from a great movie, “The Gentleman.” Matthew McConaughey at his finest:
“There’s only one rule in the jungle: when the lion’s hungry, he eats.”