Following Flynt - Irish, Blue Devils Renew Rivalry

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On Saturday, the #9 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team will kick off its season against the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils at Arlotta Stadium. The game begins at 1 pm ET and it will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN3. Thanks to some unseasonably nice weather (read: lack of snow), the Fighting Irish will get a chance to play in their state-of-the-art outdoor stadium, rather than the Loftus Sports Center, the usual location of early season contests.

This will be the 10th meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Blue Devils, a series Duke leads, 6-3. With both programs perennially considered among the nation's best, it has become one of college lacrosse's newest and most exciting rivalries. The 2012 campaign marks the third straight year in which Notre Dame opens its season against Duke, and it will be their fifth meeting since the start of 2010.

Two years ago, head coach Kevin Corrigan's team won 11-7 in Durham, N.C., while last season, they downed the Blue Devils, 12-7 in the 2011 Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. Unfortunately for the Irish however, the recent story has been much different in the postseason.

The 2010 national championship at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. was one of the most thrilling college lacrosse games in recent years, a matchup between two programs seeking their first national title. A low-scoring contest, Notre Dame and Duke were tied at five at the end of regulation, before the Blue Devils' C.J. Costabile broke the hearts of Irish lacrosse fans everywhere. The sophomore won the opening overtime face-off, sprinted down field and scored the title-clinching goal, just five seconds into the extra period.

Last season, Duke and Notre Dame met in the NCAA quarterfinals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Once again the Blue Devils had the Irish's number, winning 7-5 and advancing to play Maryland.

When Notre Dame takes the field this weekend, it will look to continue its history of success in early season games. The Irish are 24-7 all-time in season-openers and have won 14 straight games in February.

At the end of the day however, Saturday is just one game in a long season - a season that Coach Corrigan and his players hope culminates in a Memorial Day victory celebration.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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