Skip to main content
Pat Kavanagh tugs at Chris Kavanagh — and the lacrosse world's heart strings — as the brothers and Notre Dame teammates celebrate the Fighting Irish's win over Duke in the NCAA championship game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

2023 Men's Top 30: How Notre Dame Fared vs. Projections

August 10, 2023
Patrick Stevens
Kevin P. Tucker

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2024, our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking one last look at 2023.

After all, you have to look at the most recent results before making projections for what’s to come. To do that, we’re taking a journey through the top 30 teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse — what went right, what went wrong and what we should all think of that team’s season.

Was it a success? A failure? A mixture of both? You’ll find out our thoughts over the next month or so.


Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason/Final Top 20 Ranking: 6/1
2023 record: 14-2 (4-2 ACC)


Where to begin? Pat Kavanagh (25 goals, 52 assists) was a Tewaaraton finalist. Eric Dobson (34 goals, 11 assists) was a load in the midfield. Liam Entenmann (.570 save percentage) was a steady presence all year and especially strong in the postseason. Defenseman Chris Fake and midfielder Brian Tevlin, a pair of Yale grad transfers, were major influences, and Tevlin’s ability to do a little of everything (even grabbing a pole for man-down defense) made him one of the season’s most compelling players. Will Lynch’s faceoff work in May turned a question mark into a strength. And, of course, Notre Dame earned its first national title with a 13-9 defeat of Duke just a season after its surprising postseason snub provided more than enough fuel for the next 12-plus months.


The Irish couldn’t beat Virginia — in two regular-season meetings, anyway. A 13-12 comeback victory in the NCAA semifinals rectified that problem.


Memorial Day and the celebration that followed. Could it really be anything else for a school that broke through for its first title in its 26th all-time tournament appearance? The only other programs that had experienced half as much angst before winning it all were 2012 Loyola (18th NCAA trip) and 2010 Duke (14th). 


Notre Dame perched itself at a fascinating intersection of both ability and incentive given the talent in place and the sour way the Irish’s 2022 season concluded. There are few teams that check both of those boxes and proceed to overcome all obstacles when it matters most. It was a worthy team to bring a Division I men’s lacrosse title to the Midwest for the first time.