June 3, 2018
By John Heisler
They absolutely qualified as international “friendly” lacrosse matches, but don’t think the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team didn’t take a good measure of pride in leaving with a perfect 7-0 record and the unofficial team title Sunday in the Barcelona City Lacrosse Tournament.
The Irish first posted three additional victories to the win column Saturday at Centre D’Alt Rendiment, the Spanish elite athletic training centre in Barcelona.
Day two of lacrosse in the BCN event featured Irish wins over national teams from Germany (14-2), Switzerland (12-3) and the Netherlands (13-2).
The Deutschland squad scored two of the first three goals to lead 2-1 after one period. Then Notre Dame tallied the final 13 goals in succession. Stephen Chase and Connor Morin both had hat tricks, while Peter Gayhardt and Bryan Costabile each scored twice on a cooler, overcast morning. Matt Schmidt played in goal for the Irish.
“I loved the way we played the last three quarters,” said Irish coach Kevin Corrigan.
That game included a reunion between Irish assistant coach Gerry Byrne and German assistant Matt Bagley who once coached together at St. Anselm College.
The squads gathered afterward for a joint team picture, as the Germany team broke out in unidentified/unofficial song.
In the middle game Switzerland managed the first goal and trailed only 3-2 after one period–both Swiss goals by Felix Stutz. Then Notre Dame ran off the next nine goals. Chase had five goals, Costabile three and freshman Davis Allen two.
Extensive shirt and uniform trading took place after the contest, with Mikey Wynne coming away with a pair of Swiss shorts to go with shirts from Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The Saturday finale over the Netherlands came under bright sunny skies. The Irish scored the first eight goals. Allen, Chase, Morin and Brian Willetts all had two goals apiece.
The Dutch won the opening faceoff and one Netherlands player subbed off the field saying, “I just beat a Notre Dame guy into the box.”
Between the second and third Irish games Saturday, the Notre Dame staff and players held an hour-long clinic for the participating international teams, with sessions on shooting, goaltending and face-offs. The Netherlands and Germany teams took particular interest, with an England goaltender asking to take extensive shots from the Irish offensive players.
Saturday night saw all participating teams come together at the beach for a particularly lively joint gala dinner at La Taberna Gallega. After the multi-course meal of seafood paella and steak–plus all the trimmings–multiple squads presented their unique versions of national songs, leading to an all-comers karaoke option by night’s end.
Sunday morning dawned overcast–with the Irish playing split two squad games at almost the same times at Centre Municipal Mar Bella and Can Aranyo-Agapito Fernandez facilities skirting the Barcelona beachfront.
Assistant coach Matt Karweck took charge of the first game versus Norway (coached by former Irish player Dan Scolaro, who has been lobbying Corrigan for Norway to serve as the host for Notre Dame’s next international venture) and burnished his international resume with Notre Dame posting an 8-5 triumph.
The red-jerseyed Norge unit tied the contest 3-3 and pulled back within 6-5 before late goals by Allen and Patrick Hadley clinched it for the Irish as seagulls flew noisily overhead. Michael Marchese played in goal for the winners.
In the last game Sunday against England, Costabile’s overtime goal won it 10-9 for Notre Dame. Brendan Gleason scored three times and Costabile twice for the Irish who fought back from a 5-2 deficit. Costabile’s winner came after a Schmidt save on England’s opening possession in the overtime.
Both overlapping games Sunday featured split Notre Dame squads for at least half of each contest. Corrigan and his assistants ended the afternoon by helping officiate the late game between host Spain and the Netherlands.
Massive amounts of uniform trading followed the final Irish game–with virtually every Notre Dame player ending up wearing various pieces of Norway or Spain gear (and vice versa).
Closing ceremonies allowed Corrigan to thank the hosts from Spain for organizing the event. One Dutch player has started a lacrosse equipment business and presented each team with one of its sticks in addition to the plaque each squad earned. One of the player recipients noted that the Notre Dame team is watched regularly and that the Irish players are viewed as “role models” for many of the internationals who follow the game.
After a pizza delivery, the Irish jumped back in their two buses for a two-hour ride north into the Pyrenees Mountains, with an additional 40-minute train taking the Notre Dame party the final 7.8 miles to Vall de Nuria (6,600 feet) that is not accessible by road. The glorious scenery from the train windows featured multiple fast-moving waterfalls and hints of snow on the nearby peaks.
The squad shared a team dinner at the hotel in Nuria on a chilly night ahead of planned hiking on Monday.
–by John Heisler, senior associate athletics director
The trip is a unique experience that each Notre Dame men’s lacrosse student-athlete gets to experience once in their collegiate careers. It has become a focal point to the entire Notre Dame lacrosse experience. Follow the team on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter along with the hasthag #NDLaxSpain to keep up with the foreign adventure.
— ND —
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.
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