Notre Dame men's lacrosse has sights back on reaching NCAA Tournament

Justin Frommer
South Bend Tribune
Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan reacts to a call during the Duke-Notre Dame lacrosse match on Saturday, May 07, 2022, at Arlotta Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

SOUTH BEND — In the weeks following the end of last year's Notre Dame lacrosse season, Kevin Corrigan wasted no time hitting the recruiting trail while also watching his son, Will, coach in the NCAA Tournament with Harvard.

Of course, Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame's longtime men's lacrosse coach, would have loved to be doing the same, and probably should have been. However, for the first time in 16 seasons his, and the Irish offseason, started early.

Despite winning its final six games and being co-Atlantic Coast Conference champions, the Irish weren't picked for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.

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"We weren't very happy about that," Corrigan said this past week. "That one stung, took a little while (to accept). We didn't have anyone to cry to and we all took it as a challenge that we can't leave ourselves to be in that position."

The Irish, opening their season ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll, begin their 2023 slate this weekend with a home game against Marquette. But this year isn't about retribution, rather getting back to the program's standards.

"We are not revenging games last year anymore than we are celebrating wins from last year," Corrigan said. "We come in and rebuild for this year's team. That is our focus."

And has been since Notre Dame was snubbed from the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Outside of competing in that, Corrigan said his favorite time of the year is the preseason because he gets a chance to find out what his team has, and this year the Irish have talent — everywhere.

"We have some of everything, which is nice," he said. "Our depth is what we need to work on. Right now we feel good about the fact that at every position we have playmakers."

Notre Dame returns one of the best goalies in college lacrosse in senior Liam Entenmann, as well as its top-four goal scorers from last year in Pat Kavanagh, Chris Kavanagh, Eric Dobson and Jake Taylor.

The Irish have already played a home preseason game against Detroit Mercy on Jan. 22, which they won, though no official score was reported.

Corrigan said that group stood out. And they will need to keep the Irish on track out of the gate.

Following its season-opener against Marquette, Notre Dame's gauntlet of a non-conference slate includes Cleveland State, trips to No. 3 Georgetown, No. 2 Maryland and hosting No. 11 Ohio State and Michigan. Then comes the ACC with No. 1 Virginia.

The Irish finished 1-4 against those teams last season, which was the difference between playing in the NCAA Tournament and watching it from home.

" (We) certainly can't wait until we are 2-4 (this year) to go on a run and start playing our hearts out (again)," Entenmann said. "We have to treat our first game like it is the national championship.

"Our goal is not going to be if we are playing in the tournament, rather who we are playing."