Oct. 25, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Playing in two NFL venues and facing four squads that qualified for last season's 16-team NCAA Championship field are among the highlights on the 2013 Notre Dame men's lacrosse schedule. The Fighting Irish will open the campaign Feb. 16 against fellow 2012 NCAA semifinalist Duke in Durham, N.C.
Notre Dame will square off against Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, which is home to the Denver Broncos, and meet Syracuse in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium, the home venue of the New York Giants and New York Jets. Duke, Denver and Syracuse all appeared in last season's NCAA tournament as did North Carolina, who returns to the Irish schedule.
"The strength of our schedule is great," says Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "I think the BIG EAST is going to be better than ever this year. There are also no breaks with our out-of-conference games. We're really excited about the schedule, but also appreciate the degree of difficulty that it brings and the challenge it'll be for us."
Prior to the season opener versus Duke, Notre Dame will play three exhibition contests. For the third straight year, the Fighting Irish will travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., to face the U.S. National Team in the Champion Challenge on Jan. 26. Notre Dame will take on Jacksonville in exhibition play later that same day in Orlando.
"Going to Orlando has allowed us to get outside and play on some grass, but most importantly it has allowed us to compete against some top-level players," says Corrigan. "It comes about halfway through our preseason, which is a great time to do it. It's really helped us in the preparation for our first game. We open with Duke again this year and when you open with a team that good, you need some top-level preparation."
Notre Dame will play host to Detroit Feb. 2 or 3 in exhibition action.
This is the fourth straight year that the Fighting Irish will open the season against the Blue Devils. Notre Dame has won the last three lid-lifters versus Duke, including a 7-3 triumph last season at Arlotta Stadium.
Following the Duke contest, the Irish will travel to University Park, Pa., for their annual showdown against Penn State, which will take place Feb. 24. The Fighting Irish and Nittany Lions will be squaring off for the 17th straight season.
Notre Dame will open its home slate March 2 versus North Carolina. The Irish and Tar Heels have met eight times since the 2003 campaign. The Fighting Irish will play host to Hofstra March 9. Notre Dame defeated the Pride 6-5 in overtime last season in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Denver contest at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is scheduled for March 16. The two teams also met at the stadium in 2009 and Notre Dame prevailed 10-8. This is the 16th consecutive season that the Irish and Pioneers will square off. Notre Dame captured a 10-9 triple-overtime victory over Denver last season.
The Fighting Irish return home to play another longtime rival in Ohio State on March 20. The Irish topped the Buckeyes 8-7 last season in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State is the most commonly faced opponent for Notre Dame. The two schools have met every season since the Irish became a varsity program in 1981.
Notre Dame will travel to Piscataway, N.J., to begin its defense of the 2012 BIG EAST regular-season title against Rutgers on March 24. That will be the first of six conference games for the Fighting Irish, who went 6-0 in BIG EAST play last season.
The Irish will welcome BIG EAST foe St. John's to Arlotta Stadium on March 30. A non-conference clash against Marquette will take place April 2 in Chicago, Ill. The exact location has not been determined. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Golden Eagles, who begin BIG EAST play in 2014. The Irish return to league play April 7 at Providence.
Notre Dame will conclude its regular-season home schedule with BIG EAST showdowns against Georgetown (April 13) and Villanova (April 20) before traveling to MetLife Stadium for its conference matchup with Syracuse in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic. The doubleheader begins with Princeton taking on Cornell, followed by the Irish versus the Orange.
This is the second straight season that the Irish will compete in the Big City Classic. Notre Dame bested St. John's 13-6 in last year's event.
"It's a thrill to be in those big stadiums and play in those events that help to prepare you for situations you hope to be in at the end of the year," says Corrigan. "We've played in a lot of these stadiums and it's fun and a terrific atmosphere and the opponents we play make it that much better."
Villanova will host the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship for the second straight season. The semifinals will be played May 2 and the final is slated for May 4.
The Fighting Irish hope to be in the NCAA Championship field for the eighth straight season when the 2013 tournament commences with first-round games May 11 and 12 at campus sites.
Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, will host two NCAA quarterfinal contests, while the University of Maryland is the other quarterfinal site. The Maryland quarterfinal games are slated for May 18 and the action will shift to Indianapolis the following day.
The NCAA semifinals and final will take place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 25 and 27.
Notre Dame will be aiming for its third NCAA semifinal appearance since 2010. The Irish posted a 13-3 record in 2012 and advanced to the NCAA semifinals before falling to eventual champion Loyola, 7-5.