The Post-Week Tailgate: March 26, 2023


The Notre Dame football team shows its support for the Fighting Irish men's lacrosse team during their game Saturday against Virginia at Arlotta Stadium.

Lacrosse fans have a funny obsession with football, don’t we? We’re American, after all.

When Chris Hogan or Jared Bernhardt makes it in the NFL, we feel like we made it.

When Tom Brady or Eli Manning carries a stick for his kid, we hail him as a confirmed lacrosse guy.

When a Navy quarterback, Maryland defensive back and Stanford linebacker all decide they love lacrosse too much to stay away from the game, we put them on the cover of our magazine.

And when the entire Notre Dame football team crashes a lacrosse game at Arlotta Stadium on a 36-degree day in South Bend — some of them shirtless and screaming on the berm as the Kavanagh brothers orchestrate a third-quarter comeback — we all get hyped.

“What a cool setting to come out of halftime and have the Notre Dame football team all wild cheering on their team,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany said after the visiting Cavaliers’ 15-10 win. “To bring that energy to the setting is something I’ll never forget. It was awesome to have such intensity at our away game.”

The announced attendance Saturday was 3,095, far more than Arlotta Stadium’s seating capacity of 2,500. As former ESPN lacrosse play-by-play guy Eamon McAnaney astutely observed, it’s ironic that the arrival of a football team at a lacrosse game only further validated that lacrosse should not be played in cavernous football stadiums.

If Notre Dame and Virginia meet again Memorial Day weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia—and all indications remain that these are two of the best teams in the country —  they’ll be hard pressed to create a better atmosphere than what we saw Saturday in South Bend.


Inside Lacrosse publisher Terry Foy poses a legitimate question: Who’s No. 1?  Tough call this week. I’d go with Virginia. The Cavaliers are a miraculous Brian Ruppel sequence away from being undefeated and considering what they accomplished in a hostile environment against last week’s No. 1, they get my nod for now over Notre Dame, Maryland and Duke (in that order).

Xander Dickson lived up to his Slim Reaper moniker. Virginia’s 6-foot-1, 160-pound attackman made it look effortless at times, scoring five of his six goals after Notre Dame had temporarily seized the momentum in the second half.

Get you a coach who celebrates like Joe Alberici, whose dance moves were on point following Army’s 10-5 win over Loyola.

The Black Knights have won seven straight games and are in the catbird seat in the Patriot League, a remarkable feat considering all-time leading scorer Brendan Nichtern graduated and All-American defenseman Marcus Hudgins transferred to Ohio State.

Speaking of Hudgins, he continues to thrive alongside Bobby Van Buren as co-anchors of the Buckeyes defense. Hudgins had two caused turnovers and five ground balls, while goalie Skylar Wahlund made 17 saves in an 11-7 win over Rutgers to close out the weekend. It marked the first time all season the Scarlet Knights have failed to reach double figures.

The Brian Ruppel Goalie Appreciation Award goes to Army goalie Knox Dent, who only made eight saves, but they included a three-save sequence and this astoundingly selfless play.

Joey Spallina is as polarizing as any freshman we’ve seen in recent memory — coming to Syracuse with LeBron-like ballyhoo and taking on the No. 22 immediately put him in the cross hairs of the keyboard snipers — but it’s hard not to get Lyle Thompson vibes from the way he’s able to use a defender’s leverage against him and disguise his release point with creative finishes. This is kind of iconic.

Is the 10-man ride an endangered species? Anecdotally, to address The Lacrosse Network’s question in a way in which none of its target audience sees (@mdasilva15 is lonely), it seems long-distance goals have become more frequent/less special. A 65-yard bomb here, a goalie goal there — as long as you practice backing up the goal, it’s a low-risk high-reward counter that often results with the ball in the back of the net. Moreover, the shot clock makes a turnover in that circumstance less punitive than in years past.


11 College lacrosse games (men and women) that were televised on cable networks this weekend. Glorious.

8 Years between Ivy League victories for Dartmouth. The Big Green’s 10-9 win over Harvard —punctuated by Colin McGill’s fourth goal in overtime — was their first over a conference foe since they defeated the Crimson in double overtime back in 2015. McGill factored in five of Dartmouth’s last six goals. It trailed 9-5 going into the fourth quarter.

2 Division I teams with more than seven wins: Duke (9-1) and Johns Hopkins (8-3). Barring an April implosion, the Blue Jays look ripe for a return to the NCAA tournament following an unconscionable (at Homewood, at least) two-year absence.

-23 Yale’s goal differential through two games of Ivy League play. Traditionally stout on defense, the Bulldogs have yielded 43 goals combined in losses to Cornell and Princeton.


CJ Kirst did a little bit of everything, scoring seven goals and spearheading the ride in Cornell’s 18-12 win over Penn at Schoellkopf Field.

0 Points for dangerous Saint Joseph’s attackman Levi Anderson, as Duke defeated the Hawks 12-9. Kenny Brower and Wilson Stephenson are getting too good at erasing opponents’ top threats. The Blue Devils have held their last four foes to fewer than 10 goals.

3 • Times this season North Carolina has reached the 25-goal mark, including twice in the last week. The Tar Heels handled Providence 25-8 on Saturday.

12-for-16 Identical 75-percent marks for faceoff men Angelo Petrakis and Jack Cascadden in Cornell’s 18-12 win over Penn. CJ Kirst scored seven goals in the victory, the Big Red’s first in the series since 2018.

7-0 • Georgetown’s record in starts by Michael Scharfenberger. The Hoyas turned to the sophomore, who was 3-0 in spot starts last year, after an 0-3 start with Dartmouth transfer Danny Hincks manning the pipes. They’ve since won four straight, including a 17-15 victory over Lehigh on Saturday.


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