After a thrilling upset of no. 1-ranked UVA in the National Semifinals, the Duke Blue Devils will face Notre Dame this afternoon for the chance to claim their first-ever National Championship in NCAA Lacrosse. But of course, the Irish are fighting for the same thing--after upsetting Cornell on Saturday night, the Irish have a shot to win a first National Championship of their own.
Indeed, while neither squad was expected to make it this far, Notre Dame is the underdog here. Duke's been a longstanding powerhouse in Division 1 lacrosse, while Notre Dame's never been considered a member of the sport's true elite. But today, they're both equals. Two college programs that have never won a Title. By the end of the day, that'll change.
Patrick Stevens of the lacrosse blog, DIScourse, notes that whoever wins, it'll be a well-deserved reward for a coach that's been there many times before:
In addition to crowning a first-time champ, the Memorial Day matchup between Duke and Notre Dame guarantees something else.
One of the two head coaches will collect a title after more than a dozen NCAA tournament trips without leading the last team standing. (Understand, of course, that defining "success" merely 0-for-a-championship terms isn't all that wise. But given the matchup, it is sort of interesting)
Notre Dame's Kevin Corrigan is in his 15th NCAA tournament, Duke's John Danowski his 13th. No matter who wins, it'll be the most postseason trips before winning a title in tournament history.
It should be an interesting afternoon, no matter who you're rooting for. Coverage begins at 3:30 on ESPN.