Utah Lacrosse Prepared For First NCAA Appearance Against Notre Dame

May 12, 2023, 9:47 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lacrosse may only be five-years old but have already made a big splash in their short existence. Saturday will mark one more quick milestone- reaching the NCAA tournament to face Notre Dame.

As one of the newest NCAA lacrosse teams, and the western-most team, the Utes know they have a grand opportunity against the Irish to help increase the popularity of the sport and possibly encourage other westbound colleges to jump in.

The fast-paced, high scoring Utes are excited to be facing-off with another fast-paced, high scoring team in Notre Dame, and have easier fan access to the game on ESPNU.

The Utes Vs. The Fighting Irish

Second-year head coach Andrew McMinn couldn’t be prouder of his fledgling program and how far they have come in a short time. The Utes have only been a part of the ASUN Conference for two years and have competed in two-straight conference championships, winning this year, and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships to take on Notre Dame.

“It was incredible and so deserving for those guys with the work they’ve put in and how they’ve carried themselves throughout the year,” McMinn said. “It wouldn’t have been right if it didn’t culminate in that type of success. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, but these guys have carried themselves at such a high level on and off the field the entire season. It was very well deserving to say the least for every one of those guys out there to accomplish what they did.”

The work isn’t over yet, however, as Utah will need to come in with that same focus and work ethic to take on the No. 3 ranked Fighting Irish on their turf in South Bend. The Utes currently rank as the No. 2 team in the country in scoring offense and points per game. Notre Dame is the third ranked team in the country in those categories, almost certainly assuring a high-scoring affair Saturday afternoon.

“That’s the type of ball we like to play,” McMinn said. “It’s exciting for us when we get to go against teams that are a similar style. They don’t push the pace quite as much as we do, but obviously, as you mentioned, they have success offensively and all segments there. For us, it’s just exciting to get an opponent that we feel like we can play our style and really get them down and run the field.”

Team captain Josh Rose is confident being a young team a few years ago, and purposely taking on some of the best lacrosse teams in the country will serve the Utes well as they embark on their NCAA journey.

“We’ve played teams that have been top teams in the country,” Rose said. “That’s something we’re used to playing. We’ve played Virginia, we’ve played Loyola in the past couple of years. Really, we had a younger team a couple of years ago and now a lot of us are fifth years and seniors, as well as underclassmen. I think those games prepared us for now, coming in, we’re getting film and prep for them. I think just our mentality that we can play top teams in the county.”

Tyler Bradbury loves that his team is one of the newest in the Utah Athletics lineup and contributing so soon to the unprecedented success of the collective athletics group. In the past year the Utes have had football, women’s basketball, gymnastics and men’s tennis earn conference championships. They have also had women’s basketball, gymnastics, and men’s tennis make runs in their respective NCAA Tournaments, while the ski team earned another National Championship. Lacrosse is in the beginning of making their marks in those territories too.

“It’s awesome,” Bradbury said. “I think that we’ve been under-respected as a Utah program with all of the success of the ski team and the football team, women’s volleyball and women’s basketball. I think this is really good for us to show the rest of our school that we are a top player too and we can compete with anyone in the country. It’s been pretty cool and pretty rewarding to show everyone we can do that.”

How To Watch Utah Lacrosse Saturday

The Utes will faceoff against Notre Dame at 12:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, May 13 and can be watched on ESPNU.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Lacrosse Prepared For First NCAA Appearance Against Notre Dame