Feb. 7, 2018
By: Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The lacrosse season gets underway this weekend at Loftus Sports Center at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 11, against Detroit. The Irish have much-needed depth in the midfield, a unit that features some of the top players in the country at their positions.
The pairing of returning All-Americans in senior long-stick midfielder John Sexton and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Drew Schantz forms a dynamic duo that is relentless on defense formidable in the attack.
“Those are two guys with a lot of experience and two guys that can play at a really high level,” said Baumer Family Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Kevin Corrigan. “They both are always working hard to bring something new to their game. I think those guys are great.”
The first midfield group of senior Brendan Collins, junior Brendan Gleason and sophomore Bryan Costabile brings loads of offensive firepower to the field. It may take some time and game reps to get comfortable playing together, however, Collins brings leadership and experience to help the process along.
“This is the first time our midfield group is running together and it is a senior, a junior and a sophomore and the junior hasn’t played midfield for a year and a half,” Corrigan said. “We are still feeling our way along.
“Brandon Collins has done a nice job of really trying to work hard to make sure that group is working well together and that is an important role for someone to play.”
Costabile, entering just his second season at the collegiate level, finished his debut season playing his best lacrosse. The Sykesville, Maryland, product finished with 17 goals in 2017, with eight coming in the last six games. Costabile has just begun to scratch the surface of his potential.
“Bryan Costabile just improves on a daily basis,” Corrigan said. “Bryan is still figuring out what the parameters of his game are and so are we. We are learning with him.”
The third member of the first midfield unit started in Notre Dame’s attack all last season, as Gleason is making the transition to midfield. Last season Gleason enjoyed a breakout season, scoring 25 goals, the second most on the team. This year Gleason will look to carry his attacking prowess to the midfield.
“Gleason is getting more and more comfortable each day playing up top and finding the right spots for him to make plays,” Corrigan said. “Brendan is adjusting to being different places on the field and finding his plays in the context of our offense as a midfield. We can invert him and put him back there where he is comfortable but also getting him to use his dodging ability up top is really important. He is a dynamic offensive player.”
Notre Dame enters the season with a wealth of depth in the midfield, as there is a mix of veterans and newcomers vying for spots on the second unit.
“I really like some of the things our second midfield is doing,” Corrigan said. “Pierre Byrne is playing the best he has ever played and Timmy Phillips is playing the best he has ever played. Mike Drake is a freshman who gives us a lot of stuff on that midfield. I like the group that we have and they are getting pushed by some guys below them right now who are looking for some time as well.”
PLAYER HIGHLIGHT: JOHN SEXTON
Sexton enters his senior season as the best long-stick midfielder in the country. The Sudbury, Massachusetts, native finished last season with USILA First Team All-America honors and begins the 2018 campaign as one of 11 players on the USILA Preseason Player of the Year Watch List.
The senior is ruthless as a defender, creating havoc on the opposition’s attack while also possessing the ability to scoop up a ground ball and instantly pose as a threat as an offensive player. Sexton scored four goals in his junior season and has seven in his career.
“John Sexton is a guy who loves to run the field,” Corrigan said. “He is great off the ground and gets the ball up. He is aggressive and skilled offensively. He wants to play on man-up for us. He is terrific and we are lucky to have him.”
AREA OF EMPHASIS: FACEOFF
The Irish will look to improve in the faceoff facet of the game in 2018. Notre Dame has Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection John Travisano, Jr. back at the X this season and also will feature sophomore Kyle Hyland, who lost the majority of last season to injury.
“Kyle Hyland competed at a really high level last year in the preseason and then got hurt,” Corrigan said. “I think what John Travisano is benefitting from right now is the competition. Those two guys both want to contribute at that position and I think they both will.
“John has been through the fire and has had good and bad days and that helps you to mature and understand what the challenges are with that role and the importance of it to our team’s success. I think John has had a really good preseason. He and Kyle are competing at a high level everyday.”
STORYLINE TO FOLLOW: THE RETURN OF Carlson Milikin
After missing the entire 2017 season, Carlson Milikin will suit up for the Irish for the first time in his collegiate career. The graduate student played three seasons at Virginia before transferring to Notre Dame for a graduate season.
Milikin’s 2017 season was over before the regular season began, tearing his ACL to sideline him for the year. The Richmond, Virginia, product received a medical redshirt and put in hours and hours of rehab and work to get ready for this season.
Carlson is a guy who has missed two different years of his college career and has had the perseverance to keep coming back. He is a terrific athlete and he cares very much about playing well and competing at a high level. He continues to work hard.
For an in-depth read into Milikin’s road back, click here.
For the season preview on the Irish attack, click here.
Stay tuned for the season preview on defense/goalkeepers later this week.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
- To buy now, click here.
- Adult: $40
- Youth/Senior: $25
- Fan Pack (4 tickets): $95
- Guaranteed seat for all seven home games, including sold out game vs. Duke on April 7
- Season ticket gift
- Invitation to season ticket holder cookout prior to May 5 game vs. Army
- Bring a Friend vouchers for select home games
- Purchase at UND.com/BuyTickets
- Call 574-631-7356
- Visit the Murnane Family Ticket Office, located in Purcell Pavilion
The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
Follow the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team on social media and the Internet …
Click here to read the latest news on ND Lacrosse