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Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse 2024 Team Preview

The Irish look to go back to back and defend their National Championship

The Irish celebrate winning their first ever lacrosse title
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

Welcome back everyone...

The start of the 2024 season is upon us and I am excited to be here for another year as we preview our 2024 Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse team.

And for those of you who missed it, we recorded a recent “Exit 77” podcast episode (here it is on Spotify and here it is on Apple podcasts) where David Brogan (the biggest Notre Dame lacrosse fan out there) and I gave our thoughts on the first two scrimmages, the schedule and what we expect to see this year from our Irish. This episode is a MUST LISTEN for any fan of Notre Dame lacrosse, and just lacrosse in general. There might not be another person more knowledgable about college lacrosse than David Brogan. It was an absolute blast recording everything.

I am going to follow a similar format to my 2023 Fighting Irish team preview and just like last year when I wrote the piece, we are already through the first weekend of games and some top teams have already played two games (Johns Hopkins and Syracuse). To note, we have seen some upsets with Loyola over Georgetown, Denver over Hopkins and Colgate over Penn State. Not to mention it took Maryland going to OT in order to beat Richmond. And with this all being the case, I am going to echo my same sentiments word for word from last year’s article: “By the way, note to the NCAA tournament selection committee: this season is going to be a good reminder that the tournament field needs to be expanded to at least 24 teams. There is too much talent at too many schools across the country to still be confined to a 16 team tournament (with too many automatic qualifiers). But that is a discussion for another day.”

All right, now it’s time to preview our 2024 Fighting Irish (preseason ranked #1). I will look at the coaches and the players who will be taking the field next week on Wednesday the 14th as we get the season underway against Cleveland State (followed by a quick turnaround with a matchup at Marquette on Sunday the 18th).

One quick note, I do want to share our good friends from 18 Stripes’s write up on the ND lacrosse team and their below tweet which sums up where ranked our Irish as it related to each unit:

Lastly, Notre Dame named their 2024 Captains and no surprise with Liam Entenmann, Pat Kavanagh and Max Manyak returning in their roles, and being joined by Eric Dobson. Congrats to these four young men:

Okay, let’s get this show started, here we go...

Notre Dame Coaching Staff

Coach Kevin Corrigan enters his 36th season at the helm of Notre Dame lacrosse and this will be his first season as the head coach of the defending national champions. We have talked about it before, but this might be his toughest coaching task to date as he looks to create a new mindset for his team coming off a season where they raised the trophy. There are three assistant coaches on the Irish team with the defense led by Coach Ryan Wellner and the offense led by Coach Chris Wojcik. And back for another year is PLL star Ryder Garnsey as he continues with his assistant coach duties.

Coach Corrigan talks to the boys during the scrimmage against Air Force
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

Notre Dame Attack

The Fighting Irish return all three starters from last year’s team, and as noted above, it is one of the top attack units in the whole country. The offensive unit will be led by Pat Kavanagh as Notre Dame lacrosse is synonymous with the Kavanagh family. Brother Chris Kavanagh and Jake Taylor will form the other puzzle pieces of the first unit and it is an ELITE group, one that will give defensive coordinators nightmares as they prepare to face Notre Dame. The best thing about this trio is that they complement each other so well. Pat is the lead and the quarterback of the unit while Chris is the outside finisher and Jake is the inside finisher. They work so well together, and when they are clicking it is a treat to watch as sometimes it can look like poetry in motion with how quickly the ball will move across their sticks (and eventually into the net).

The biggest question mark as we get the season underway is around the health of Pat Kavanagh. The last time we saw him he pulled together one of the grittiest performances in all of sports playing across Memorial Day weekend with major injuries to both his hamstring and his shoulder. Based on reports from InsideLacrosse, he will be fully ready to go against Cleveland State, but if not, keep an eye on Fulton Bayman as the fifth year senior has provided a ton of depth for the Irish over the last couple of years. Along with Fulton, look for Jeffery Ricciardelli to have an expanded role this year as he has elite finishing ability and will surely be a stalwart on the regular unit and the man-up unit. Also in the mix are younger players like Will Maheras (who has impressed in the scrimmages), along with Griffin Grant and Brock Behrman.

A final note: this will be the last season that the Kavanagh brothers will be playing together as Pat will be done following this year while Chris will have one more run left. Thinking back on the exuberance these two shared together and with their family after last year’s national championship, no one more than these two who will want to relive that feeling again this season. And if we have learned one thing about Notre Dame lacrosse, the Kavanaghs can and will do everything possible to win for the Irish. I am not betting against them this year.

Notre Dame Midfield

Anyone want to guard Eric Dobson this year? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I didn’t think so as the senior from Florida returns for his final season ranked as one of the best middies in all of college lacrosse. Each year Eric has gotten better and expectations are sky high for him this year as he has improved in just about every facet of his game over the course of his career at ND. He is lethal from the outside with either hand, he can dodge and beat shorties and longpoles from up top, and his passing / feeding has is now a full on weapon. It has been so neat to see someone with his physical traits work so hard to put it all together.

There will be no shortage of choices to join Dobson on the top midfield line and if the preseason scrimmages have been an indication, we could definitely see three offensive midfield lines getting used by the Irish all throughout the season. And for those who have listened to me and followed my articles, you know how big of a fan I am of having three complete midfield lines that you can run out throughout the season.

Names that will for sure be out there will be Reilly Gray who comes back for his last and final year. Reilly, along with Bryce Walker bring the ability to take the ball behind the cage to then beat their man and draw the slide. Joining these two will be Devon McLane (transfer from Brown) who has shown a ton of skill in the scrimmages; Jalen Seymour who is looking to build off a solid sophomore season; Jordan Faison....get ready folks, he is coming and he will be a force for the Irish midfield for years to come.

The next groupings will come from guys like Fisher Finley, Tyler Buchner, Max Busenkell, Jake Bonomi, Ryan Sforzo and Michael Lynch. Which of these players are going to step up and separate themselves to get more minutes as the season moves along? It’s intriguing, but the first couple of games should give us some good indication as to where Coach Wojcik is leaning with his groupings.

Additionally, Christian Alacqua could play a hybrid middie role across offense and defense so we can expect to see him out there.

Lastly, we have not seen Will Angrick in any of the scrimmages. We hope he is all right, but he is coming off a knee injury from last year so we don’t know his status. I do hope he is all right because when he is healthy, he is someone who could challenge for first line middie minutes.

Eric Dobson in the Utah scrimmage
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

Notre Dame Close Defense and Goalies

Liam Entenmann. That’s the name. He’s him. He’s the best goalie in college lacrosse and is back for his final season. We expect greatness from him again and we expect him to continue to be the leader that he has been for years now.

Chris Conlin is back and that is HUGE for our Irish defense. Chris was one of the better defenders in college lacrosse last year and he brings back a ton of experience and consistency to the starting group. After that, we expect the other two starters to come from this group of four: Marco Napolitano, Will Gallagher, Ross Burgmaster and Shawn Lyght. All four of these guys have seen a lot of run in the scrimmages and Shawn has shown himself to be a beyond capable and ready freshman. Marco was the third starter at close defense last year and proved himself worthy of that spot all season long, Will is the up and coming sophomore who has gotten a lot of play in the preseason, and Ross might be too valuable on the faceoff wing and can roam at LSM if need be as he has excelled there in the past.

Others to keep an eye on are freshman Nate Schwitzenberg (he just has IT, look for him in future years no matter what), Jake Sommer, Mason Wordelman and Conrad Delgado. I am also excited to see freshman Karter Williams and what he brings to the table.

The key for the Irish defense this year, outside of replacing Chris Fake, will be their communication and positioning. While that is important in every game, it will be even more so when the Irish take on their ACC foes. The attack units in the ACC, especially across UVA, Duke and Syracuse, are stacked. Get out of position or miss an assignment and the ball will be in the back of the net. All this being said, I have full faith and confidence that Coach Wellner will have this group ready to go and playing at an extremely high level throughout the season.

Lastly, if Liam needs to leave any games, look for Alex Zepf to be first off the bench followed by Thomas Ricciardelli.

Liam Entenmann locked in against Detroit Mercy
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

Notre Dame Faceoff (FO)

Will Lynch returns for his junior season after coming off an amazing performance over last Memorial Day weekend. He will be our #1 at this spot and will be backed up by Colin Hagstrom who had a solid season last year. Colin especially filled in well for Will when the faceoff game was struggling.

Behind those two will be Pat Eilers, Christian Gallaher and highly regarded freshman Andrew Greenspan. Notre Dame’s ability to gain possession and control the clock will be a key part of what we are trying to accomplish this year. Faceoffs are not just won by the person at the dot, but they are also won through the willingness, hustle and toughness of those on the wings. See below starting at the 0:19 second mark for a perfect example of this from the Irish and how these plays can win championships:

Notre Dame Long Stick Middies (LSM)

Speaking of our Long Stick Middies, this group will be led by Will Donovan who is coming off a tremendous freshman season. He will be our top cover guy for this unit and should see the bulk of the minutes, along with being a key force on the faceoff wing and on the man down unit. Other folks that we can expect to see out there will be Ross Burgmaster (if not at close defense), Ronan Doherty (improved speed and quickness this year) and BJ Burlace (transfer from Maryland).

And yes, Ross Burgmaster will be leading the Irish out of the tunnel this year with the bagpipes. Who takes it over next year? Feel free to leave your guesses in the comments below...

Notre Dame Defensive Middies (SSDM)

The Irish boast one of the top SSDM position groups in all of college lacrosse and we are led here by preseason first team AA, Ben Ramsey. For those who have followed me in the past, I was calling out for Ben’s recognition early last year as he was proving himself to be one of the best players on the field whenever he stepped on it. He will have a key role again for the Irish at SSDM and will also be in the middle on the man-down unit. The main question around Ben is if he will have a larger role in the offense this year and take over that Brian Tevlin / Quinn McCahon role from last year.

Others across SSDM that we will see are Danny Parker (transfer from UVA), Carter Parlette, Nick Harris, and as mentioned above possibly Christian Alacqua. It is a talent rich position for the Irish and one where depth will prove key throughout the season as you can never have enough good SSDMs.

Some Final Thoughts on the 2024 Team

We are just going to get right to it and say it....

This is a championship-caliber team that has talent at all levels across the field. Every game should be a winnable one and the goal for this team should be to be playing Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia.

The 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 Fighting Irish teams might be the most talented four year stretch in the history of Notre Dame lacrosse. And it’s no coincidence that this year’s team is senior laden with a lot of key figures coming back for their fifth seasons as well. This group has been there for this four year run and it is time for these players to make this last go a memorable one.

This 2024 team that has put themselves into position to defend their 2023 national championship. Now it’s time to show everyone else that the 2024 Notre Dame lacrosse team can go back to back.

Detroit Mercy Scrimmage

Going to put some pictures here from the Detroit Mercy scrimmage at the Loftus Center this past weekend. All photo credits to Fred Assaf and thanks always to Fred for his pictures and help.

Next Up

The Fighting Irish get the season underway next week on Wednesday the 14th at 6 PM EST (more than likely indoors in the Loftus Center). Come on out and watch the Irish!

“Time to be Great AGAIN.” Go Notre Dame Go!