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For Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse, it’s “Time to be Great”

The NCAA tournament gets underway for the Irish this Saturday at home against Utah

The Irish take the field before taking on Duke back in April
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

For a pretty long time now, one of my favorite lines to say is it’s “Time to be Great.” I am not sure when I started saying / writing it, but I have used it a lot over the last fifteen years or so when talking about my favorite sports teams and big games. Leading into the Notre Dame versus Clemson football game last year, it was “Time to be Great.” When my Chicago Cubs took on the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the World Series back in 2016, it was “Time to be Great.” When my Chicago Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three separate times here recently, it was “Time to be Great” each series. So many times I have texted that phrase to friends over the years, and when I think about what is upcoming for the 2023 Fighting Irish men’s lacrosse team, I can’t really think of it in any other way except that now it’s “Time to be Great.”

The Irish get the NCAA lacrosse tournament underway this Saturday as they take on the Utes of Utah at Arlotta at 2:30 PM EST on ESPNU. The Irish are the #3 overall seed in the tournament this year as we finished with a final record of 10-2. Utah is 12-4, but finished the season on an eleven game winning streak as they won the ASUN Championship and received an automatic bid into this year’s tournament. It is their first trip to the NCAAs in lacrosse after becoming a Division I team just six years ago. Kudos to the Utes as their season got off to a tough start (they were 1-4 after five games), but they clearly turned things around and are heading into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. I would be lying if I told you I knew a lot about the Utes, and I really don’t have a lot of time to do research on them, but what I do know is that they score a lot, they move the ball well, they are quick and they will look to use speed to beat the Irish defense. And it’s the NCAA tournament so they will be coming into Arlotta with nothing to lose. No one will be picking them to win so they be playing like an underdog and the Irish must be ready to go from the opening faceoff: “Time to be Great.”

Notre Dame and Duke and Virginia

No need to go through the full bracket and whether or not the Irish should be seeded #3, there is no time for that as the seedings are the seedings and they are set. With the Irish at #3, if things play out true to form, we would be looking at a Final Four of #1 Duke versus #4 Maryland and #2 Virginia versus #3 Notre Dame. I am only going to cover off on this quickly, but what Notre Dame lacrosse fan would not want to see the Irish avenge their only two losses in the regular season in the Final Four against UVA, and then try to change our 0-5 record in the postseason against Duke on Championship Monday? To be the best, you have to beat the best, and right now the seedings are saying that Duke and UVA are better than the Irish. It would be a fitting end to the 2023 Notre Dame lacrosse revenge tour and not sure I could imagine a more magical run for our first ever lacrosse National Championship (and of course Coach Corrigan’s first championship as well). It’s too far away to think about that and now it is only time to focus on the Utah game and “Time to be Great.”

The Overall NCAA Lacrosse Bracket

Lots of intriguing matchups this weekend and if I was picking on a bracket sheet, I would have the following happening in Round 1:

Duke over Delaware

Virginia over Richmond

Notre Dame over Utah

ARMY over Maryland

Princeton over Penn State

Johns Hopkins over Bryant

Georgetown over Yale

Cornell over Michigan

Some Notes on the Irish

On Tuesday, USA Lacrosse Magazine came out with their All-American teams, and as expected, the Irish were everywhere on their lists. First team All-Americans were Pat Kavanagh, Eric Dobson and Liam Entenmann. On the Second team was Brian Tevlin and Chris Fake, and on the Honorable Mention list was Chris Kavanagh and Chris Conlin. Noticeably absent, and I made my feelings known on Twitter, was Ben Ramsey. I cannot really imagine that there are ELEVEN other SSDMs in the country who are better than Ramsey. The only thing I can think of is that he did not come into the season as one of the top SSDMs as he did not play a ton last year (and most of the SSDMs recognized were known commodities from last year). If anyone watched the UNC game last weekend, not only was Ramsey the best SSDM on the field that day (UNC’s SSDM Connor Maher was a 2nd Team All-American), but you could argue that he was one of the three best players on the entire field that day. And good on the ACC for recognizing Ramsey as their ACC Defensive Player of the Week last week.

Not to be outdone with these All-American honors, the ACC announced their All-ACC Lacrosse team and on that list were Pat and Chris Kavanagh, Liam Entenmann, Eric Dobson, Chris Fake, Will Donovan and Ben Ramsey (Donovan and Ramsey were the only LSM and SSDM recognized). So just to recap: Connor Maher (from the ACC) is a 2nd Team All-American, Ben Ramsey was not recognized as an All-American at any level, but is considered the best SSDM in the ACC. Okay, that makes sense, nothing to see here ;).

Huge congratulations to Liam Entenmann who was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, ACC Goalie of the Year and a First Team All-American. Fitting for Liam as he has been exceptional all season for the Irish and now he looks to lead us on a deep run in the tourney.

Finally, congrats to Chris Fake and Brian Tevlin. Both were drafted in the PLL draft on Tuesday night with Tevlin going to the Redwoods with the 10th overall pick, and Fake going to Waterdogs with the 24th overall pick. Exciting times for these two as they will look to continue their lacrosse careers after Notre Dame.

“Time to be Great”

This has been a season to remember for the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team. It was a terrific regular season with the righting of so many wrongs, so many memorable moments and so many accolades for the players and the team. But no one wants to be known for winning the regular season, and now it’s “Time to be Great” and leave it all out on the field. It is a one game season from here on out and the opportunity is there to prove we are the best each time we step out onto the field. It all starts this Saturday against Utah, who I am sure will look to play fast, score a lot and hope to dictate things on the offensive side of the ball. But this will be their first time all season facing a team like the Irish who are elite across all levels on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field. I expect Arlotta to be rocking as it should be a nice day weather wise, and hoping we see over 5K fans and students there cheering on the Irish. I won’t be there as it is Mother’s Day weekend and there are lots of amazing Moms in my life to celebrate on Saturday and Sunday, but you better believe I already bought my flight ticket to Philadelphia for the morning of Saturday, May 27th. Everything the Irish have been building toward this year gets underway in a few days, and starting this Saturday it’s “Time to be Great.”

Go Irish!!

As always, here is a recent article from our friends at 18stripes as they look the bracket, the Irish and Utah.