Why We Love College Lacrosse
Get the popcorn ready as a new season of lacrosse’s greatest drama unfolds.
In 2023, blue bloods, new bloods, and the contenders in between are hoping this is the year they make their mark in college lacrosse history. Cheers to the Terps on a fantastic and dominant 2022. Welcome Lindenwood and Queens to the big show. There are now 75 teams on the same mission to raise the trophy on Memorial Day.
This article will be focused on Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse, but we always keep D2, D3, Club, and the College Women’s game on our radar as those athletes compete for their own shots at glory this year.
What makes the college lacrosse season so special?
It’s the rivalries, the history, and the hope for magic moments. The small window of time for teams to band together for a special season. The families and alumni tailgating in the parking lot with hot cocoa and cold beverages in hand. The bench mob celebrations and overtime dog piles. It’s the electricity of a back and forth game. The matchups of star players, the big saves, the ground ball battles, and the fast breaks that get our heart pounding.
We remember those legendary teams, players, and games that pushed the game to the next level. The “Wild Irish Rose'' Eamon McEneaney and the Big Red dismantling opponents, the Hopkins and UNC golden years, the Air Gait, the decade of dominance for Syracuse led by the Powell Brothers, K18, the undefeated Cavalier and Terp teams, and many more.
I remember the moment I truly got hooked on the game. 20 seconds left in the 2009 National Championship as I watched Syracuse vs Cornell for all the marbles. The check, the pass, and the never say die play that ended in a Kenny Nims goal to tie the game in the most dramatic ending to a title game maybe ever. It showed me what was possible and how unpredictable the game can be. Every season is a chance for more young kids to have the same experience. To fall in love with lacrosse forever.
This is the best time of the year when fall ball workouts and freezing January practices lead to results. The great honor of representing your team in the starting lineup. Putting in the work to earn the opportunity to stand in a line at midfield facing the other team’s starters. To have the confidence of your coaches, teammates, and friends behind you that you will do your job and lead them to a W.
Proud alumni boast on Twitter and in group chats that this is the year their team returns to their former glory. I’m pumped to watch my alma mater Canisius win another MAAC Championship and make a run in the NCAA playoffs. With new teams in the conference it will be another wild year in the wacky MAAC.
Each year it feels like anyone could make a run to the Final Four. There’s talent everywhere and the teams who used to seem unbeatable have fallen behind. Conference realignment makes new enemies for some while many rivalries across conferences will remain forever. Conference games mean so much more as they are the key for most teams to reach the postseason through a conference automatic qualifier.
The next generation of heroes enters the stage. A new kind of player exists in today’s game with a skillset that makes any play seem possible. This season we will get to see the next #22 and a group of offensive stars who have been fed a healthy diet of Lyle Thompson and slow mo highlights. With box lacrosse becoming a regular part of American players’ training, the gap in skill sets between Yanks and Canucks is getting smaller and smaller. But you can still spot a player raised on tiny nets, cross checks, and concrete rinks from a kilometer away.
The pandemic almost seems like a memory, but its effects linger in our daily lives as well as in the construction of teams across the college lacrosse landscape. The carousel of coaches and players seems to spin faster than ever as transfers move from program to program like it's going out of style. You only have so much time to take advantage of your chance to play college ball before you’re watching the games from the stands thinking what if. Fueled by ice baths, ibuprofen, and the fear of graduation, the 5th, 6th, and even the 7th year seniors hope to lead their teams to the promised land.
If time is a flat circle then we have returned to an era where players have more freedom to take risks with diving plays, takeaway checks, and bold moments. Many coaches still want to control the tempo and use the shot clock, but when a fast break starts and the players are feeling it, why not let them run wild? But team ball with everyone working together will always be the key to success.
Who will have the fun factor that makes their games a must watch? Think of Syracuse in 1990, Albany in 2014, and Brown in 2016. The teams that push the limits and make you sit up from your chair when they start a fast break.
The Terps will Be the Best and do everything they can to go back to back.
The Wahoos return with a loaded roster. Anything but a return to the National Championship for Virginia would be a letdown.
Rutgers finally broke through to the Final Four in 2022. Is it the Scarlet Knights turn to play on Memorial Day?
The Ivys had a resurgent return with 6 making the NCAA playoffs. Cornell and Princeton were top of the class with the other Ancients not far behind.
It’ll be a season of revenge for Notre Dame and Duke who just missed the cut on Selection Sunday in 2022.
Some new faces like Richmond, Boston, Vermont, and St. Joseph's hope to stay in the conversation and move past the first round.
Can Syracuse and Hopkins get back to above .500? The Orange boast some fabulous freshmen who could get the Dome rocking once again.
Who will surprise this season? Who will emerge from the mist with some upset wins and make people question their sanity when they read the box score? I can’t wait to see who will rock the boat.
Good luck to every team as they get set to embark on the journey of the season. Enjoy every moment of the 6 am lifts, the long bus rides, the pregame huddle, the wins, and time spent with your teammates.
There is nothing better.