It had been a long time coming for the Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse program under head coach Kevin Corrigan, but the Irish became the western most school in NCAA lacrosse history to earn a No. 1 ranking.
Both major polls, Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) have the Irish sitting atop all other collegiate programs. The spot has been earned thanks in part to accomplishments and positive momentum for the Irish program from prior seasons, including last season's run to the national championship game. It also helps that Notre Dame remains the only undefeated Division 1 program, sitting at 10-0 (5-0 Big East) on the year.
Corrigan is in his 23rd year as head coach at Notre Dame and has literally built the program from irrelevance to national power. Prior to his arrival the program had never earned a NCAA Tournament berth. Under Corrigan's leadership, though, Notre Dame has earned 15 appearances in the tournament.
This Saturday, Corrigan's Irish squad will experience their toughest test of the 2011 season when they travel to Syracuse, NY to take on the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU at 7pm EST.
While the top spot in both major polls is quite the distinction, there is still much more to be accomplished this season for the Irish. Led by three Tewaaraton Trophy nominees in seniors Zach Brenneman (M), David Earl (M), and Kevin Ridgway (D), Notre Dame looks to knock off the Orange for the first time in school history. The Irish are winless in four previous attempts against the Orange.
The ultimate goal this season, however, is to not only return to the national title, but to earn the school's first ever championship in the sport. They are one step closer with a No.1 ranking - a first in program history - and a sure bid to the NCAA tournament.