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First NCAA D-I lacrosse game ever played in Minnesota


Viper

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The NLL's Minnesota Swarm have a new owner this season, Milwaukee-based businessman and former Notre Dame lacrosse player John Arlotta. Arlotta also did a stint in the Army, so to promote his team he organized and staged a game yesterday between Notre Dame and West Point at the National Sports Center in Blaine, the first Division I lacrosse game ever played in the state of Minnesota. (There are currently no D-I lax programs in the state, though Minnesota-Duluth is trying to get theirs up to that level in the next few years.)

Anyway, as a Swarm season-ticket holder I got free tickets to the event, and got there early enough to snag seats right at midfield. I took about 30 pictures, 12 of which I'll share with you here (as thumbnails) on this and the next couple of posts. First, before the game there was a swearing-in ceremony for a bunch of new local Army recruits:

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Then the teams took the field. The Fighting Irish were first onto the field, led by a bagpiper. But it wasn't a mascot playing the bagpipes - it was freshman midfielder Sean Rogers. That's right, he plays lacrosse and bagpipes too. How cool is that?

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Evidently the Black Knights knew they couldn't top an entrance like that, so they just stormed onto the field.

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The pregame festivities over at last, we had the faceoff, and the historic game was underway!

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To be continued...

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Here are a few action shots from throughout the game. It went back and forth throughout, tied both at halftime (5-5) and at the end of regulation (8-8).

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And for the obligatory dose of eye candy, a shot of the Swarm Performance Team performing at halftime:

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As I mentioned above, the game went into sudden-death OT.

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In fact it went into double-OT before Army senior Cadet First Class Brooks Korvin (#20) beat Notre Dame's goalie. This picture came a split-second before the deciding goal. Korvin is right in front of the net, about to unleash the deadly backhander:

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And the Black Knights celebrate their historic 9-8 win!

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A full account of the day's events here.

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That would have been interesting to watch. A shame I didn't hear about it until later in the day.

What did you think of the new stadium configuration at the NSC?

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I always love to see the sport of lacrosse being spread to new areas and I don't want to completely burst your bubble. However, fall college lacrosse is purely the exhibition season, like spring football. Instead of having a Blue-Gold/Red-White/Color-Other Color game, lacrosse teams play in exhbitition games and tournaments. That is why Army and Notre Dame are wearing mesh practice tank tops instead of their regular uniforms.

Either way, it sounds like it was a fun day. Thanks for letting us know about it.

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(There are currently no D-I lax programs in the state, though Minnesota-Duluth is trying to get theirs up to that level in the next few years.)

No offense, but NCAA rules state that a school can only "opt-up" one men's and one women's sport to Division-I, and Minnesota-Duluth already does that for hockey (they are D-II in everything else). Not only that, but the Univeristy, the City of Duluth and the State of Minnesota are currently building a new $80 million hockey rink, so their dedication to that program is pretty solid.

Also, keep in mind that UMD doesn't even sponsor lacrosse as a varsity sport (it is a club sport right now), so that any discussion about "moving up to D-I" by those involved in the program is likely wishfull thinking...

Moose

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That would have been interesting to watch. A shame I didn't hear about it until later in the day.

What did you think of the new stadium configuration at the NSC?

If you're referring to getting rid of the running track and moving the stands in closer to the field, that isn't really new anymore, but it was still a good idea, not only for the Thunder, but possibly for a Major League Lacrosse franchise. Arlotta has said he's exploring the possibility of pursuing an MLL team for Minnesota, and that this college game was a trial balloon for that. Of course, the renovation is also another nail in the NSC's history. (For those who may not know/remember, the National Sports Center is the biggest remaining remnant of Minneapolis/St. Paul's failed bid to host the '96 Olympics; they narrowly lost out to Atlanta in the national-level round of bidding.)

I always love to see the sport of lacrosse being spread to new areas and I don't want to completely burst your bubble. However, fall college lacrosse is purely the exhibition season, like spring football. Instead of having a Blue-Gold/Red-White/Color-Other Color game, lacrosse teams play in exhbitition games and tournaments. That is why Army and Notre Dame are wearing mesh practice tank tops instead of their regular uniforms.

Either way, it sounds like it was a fun day. Thanks for letting us know about it.

I had wondered about that. I knew college lacrosse was mainly a spring sport but I figured it was structured like college baseball used to be, with some teams/conferences having extended seasons.

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If you're referring to getting rid of the running track and moving the stands in closer to the field, that isn't really new anymore, but it was still a good idea, not only for the Thunder, but possibly for a Major League Lacrosse franchise.

I figured since you said you hadn't been to a Thunder game this year, you hadn't seen the changes yet. :P^_^

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