June 2, 2018
By John Heisler
Uno, dos, tres, Irish!
With that, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team began its 10-day excursion to Spain.
The first full day and a half in Barcelona produced mountain-sized portions of travel and lacrosse plus solid slices of Spanish culture, food and hospitality.
The Irish flew out of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday night, arriving in Barcelona at 10 a.m. local time Thursday. The Notre Dame party checked into its first-three-days headquarters at Centre D’Alt Rendiment, Spain’s training center for elite athletes.
After a quick lunch at the C.A.R. dining hall, the Irish zip-zagged their way through the mountains to a three-hour stop at Montserrat, a popular Catalunya religious pilgrimage destination for more than a thousand years and located about an hour away from the C.A.R. facilities. The Montserrat basilica features the Black Virgin (La Moreneta) above the main altar–a small wood statue discovered in the 12th century. Hiking and funicular rides were the order of the late afternoon.
Returning to the Barcelona city centre, Notre Dame grabbed pizza at the Institut Nacional D’Educacio Fisica de Catalunya–next door to multiple facilities used in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games–and then joined with the Barcelona Dracs (the city’s club lacrosse squad) for an early-evening combined practice/scrimmage.
Both teams headed to Mussol for a late-night dinner on the site of a former bullfighting ring, Arenas de Barcelona, that was turned into a three-level shopping center a half-dozen years back. The fourth level features a circle of restaurants with outstanding views of the city.
Friday morning featured a tour of the amazing Sagrada Familia, the Antoni Gaudi-designed cathedral that has remained under construction since 1883 (it’s currently slated for finish in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death). Then it was on to the Las Ramblas–the ultra-popular Barcelona stretch for social life, shopping and people-watching–for strolling, site-seeing and lunch.
A little after 5 p.m., the Irish squared off in their opening game of the Barcelona City Lacrosse Tournament versus Spain–playing 15 minutes running time over four periods with international rules.
“You can tell your grandchildren about that,” came a shout from the Spanish sideline.
The Irish ultimately prevailed over the home team 20-2, thanks to four goals from Peter Gayhardt and two each by Stephen Chase and Bryan Costabile. Twelve other Irish players scored single goals–as Notre Dame utilized a mixed lineup of seniors with a strong selection of younger players. Michael Marchese and John Zullo shared duties in goal.
In the nightcap England, expected to be the top international squad in the field, scored the first goal against Matt Schmidt. Then Willetts scored twice more to push the Notre Dame advantage to 5-1. Notre Dame led 6-2 at half, 9-2 after three periods and won 11-4.
“Good job. That’s exactly how we wanted to play,” said Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan after it ended.
Costabile had three goals (two on extra-man situations). Zullo finished in goal after intermission.
Among team connections included Irish assistant coach Matt Karweck, who played with England assistant Sam Glover 10 years ago for Sheffield in the United Kingdom. On hand to watch is former Irish player Logan Connelly, who now lives in Frankfort, Germany, plays club lacrosse there and knows many of the Deutschland players.
Saturday’s all-day lacrosse schedule includes Notre Dame games against Germany (9:30 a.m.), Switzerland (1 p.m.) and the Netherlands (6 p.m.). Norway also is participating in the event. It’s all a timely run-up for the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championship in July in Israel. Irish lacrosse athletic trainer Mandy Merritt will be part of the training staff here for the USA squad.
When in Barcelona, try the Casa Leopoldo for lunch or Bodega 1900 for a late dinner.
–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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