top of page

No. 1 Irish Continue Incredible Run, Dominate Duke To Claim 2024 ACC Lacrosse Title

Written by Peter Jay Mulroy ⏐ Writer ⏐ Instagram: @sportstodaywithpeterjay

Photo by University of Notre Dame Athletics

Less than 48 hours after dismantling Virginia for the second time in six days, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team prepared for their second meeting of the season with the Duke Blue Devils, only this time, an ACC championship was on the line.


The Irish dominated UVA on Friday night in Charlotte, with the 18-9 victory showing once again why the defending national champions remain the clearcut top team in America. And, looking to cap an undefeated campaign in conference play with a championship, Notre Dame opened Sunday afternoon’s title tilt in near mirror fashion to the way their semifinal triumph began.


Jake Taylor opened the scoring with a bullet off a crisp assist from Will Angrick, as the Irish were on the board first with a 1-0 lead. The next four goals would go to Irish as well, with Reilly Gray registering his ninth and 10th markers of the season, and Taylor piping home another for his 34th of the campaign to put Notre Dame up 4-0.


On Friday, the white and gold -- who were searching for their 10th straight victory overall and sixth straight over Duke -- jumped out to a 4-0 advantage over UVA, as the consistency on both ends of the field remained present.


It was the fifth goal of the opening period, however, was quintessential Notre Dame. Following a beautiful low save by ACC Defensive Player of the Year Liam Entenmann, the Irish ran their transition offense like a well-oiled machine. Entenmann quickly fed the ball up the field, where the sequence was capped off by Chris Kavanagh’s 28th goal of the season. In the blink of an eye, the Irish were out in front, 5-1.


Additional goals from Pat Kavanagh (21st of season) and the red-hot Devon McClane (27th) provided Notre Dame -- who entered Friday’s final with a combined regular and postseason record of 5-0 in ACC play this season -- with an 8-2 at the halftime break. McClane registered a hat trick in each of the past three games, including the ACC semifinal, and his play remains a major reason why the Irish midfield unit remains the most cohesive group in America.


The Blue Devils would open the third frame by scoring three of the first four goals, closing the gap to four with just under seven minutes left. Looking to pull even closer, Duke went on the attack at the six-minute mark of the quarter. A rising shot from Josh Zawada towards the left side of Entenmann looked like it had a chance to beat the stalwart keeper, but the two-time ACC Defensive and Goalie of the Year was simply too prepared for what was coming.


Shortly after Entenmann turned aside the Zawada attempt, the Irish went back on the attack. Will Angrick’s seventh goal of the season, which came with 5:15 remaining in the period, positioned ND with a 10-5 advantage, and perhaps, a bit of calm. The goal from the midfielder came on what was just the third shot attempt by Notre Dame in the quarter, as Duke had controlled the tempo for most of the third.


ND’s lead ballooned back to six less than four minutes later when Chris Kavanagh -- moments after Entenmann recorded the 700th save of his career -- popped home his second of the game while falling to the ground. At the end of three quarters, Notre Dame led, 11-5.


The highlight of the day came from the white and gold duo of Chris Kavanagh and Max Busenkell. Nearly 90 seconds into the final quarter, CK found an incredibly tight window to find the Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, native, who sent a rocket past Blue Devils netminder Patrick Jameison to give Notre Dame a 12-6 lead.


One minute later, CK would pop home his third of the game and 30th of the season, as the Irish were in cruise control and well on their way to winning their third ACC crown in 11 seasons.


Late goals by Pat Kavanagh and Will Maheras (first of the season) put Notre Dame ahead 15-6, and when it was all said and done, the Fighting Irish were able to claim their first ACC title since 2018 on the strength of a 16-6 victory.


What’s Next for the Irish?


Notre Dame will now await the announcing of the NCAA Tournament field, where it is expected they’ll be the top overall seed with a record of 12-1 and the nation’s No. 1 ranking.


The 2024 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament is slated to begin with the play-in round on Wednesday, May 8. The first round will begin Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12, with the quarterfinals being played the weekend of May 18-19.


The semifinals and championship will be played May 25 and 27, respectively, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.


Enjoyed This Article?
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
bottom of page