The Conference shakeup did not only affect the football and basketball programs this year.
With the Irish joining the ACC, the men's lacrosse team went from a top-heavy Big East slate to an absolutely dominant ACC. The strength of 2014 ACC Lacrosse cannot be stated enough. This is a power conference. Taking Virginia's uncharacteristically bad 2013 season into account, the 2013 RPI of each team (9, 2, 19, 4, 7 and 1) highlights the ACC's established place as the strongest lacrosse conference in the nation.
Despite the last season of Maryland in the ACC, the conference added the Syracuse Orange and the Irish.
The Irish laxers were picked to finish 5th in the Preseason ACC Poll, with the top 3 teams separated by a point and the Irish themselves only a vote behind Virginia.
In addition, Irish Head Coach Kevin Corrigan named Seniors Jim Marlatt and Stephen O'Hara as Captains for the upcoming 2014 season.
Marlatt, a Middie from Clarksville, Maryland, was named to the Preseason All-ACC Team as well. The strength of the Irish Midfield, Marlatt was a two-time All-Big East Team honoree and 4th on the 2013 squad in points. He is dominant in ground balls (2nd to only Liam O'Connor, the Irish faceoff specialist) and 2nd in shots (2nd only to Irish Attackman Matt Kavanaugh). To illustrate his precision, Marlatt led the Irish in shots-on-goal last season.
O'Hara is a two-year starter in the Irish defense, cementing his position as the anchor of the Irish longsticks. He generated the second most turnovers amongst Irish defenders last season, and led them in ground balls. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, O'Hara continues a long storied history of Irish defensive captains, joining previous captains Matt Miller, Kevin Randall, Kevin Ridgway and Mike Creighton.
The Irish are finalizing the final components of their schedule and it should be released soon. Of note, the team has confirmed that they will take on the University of Denver on March 8 as part of the Pacific Coast Shootout in California. The Pioneers were one of the surprises of the 2013 tournament, upsetting North Carolina en route to the school's first ever Final Four appearance.