The Notre Dame men's lacrosse team is in the ACC championship game for the third-straight year after knocking off Duke in the ACC semifinals last weekend.
It'll be a rematch of the ACC title game from last season, when the Irish dominated the Cavaliers 17-7 to capture the conference crown. But, that's not the game this Notre Dame team is thinking about.
These two squads played each other on March 16th, with Virginia knocking off the Irish 13-11 down in Charlottesville. Prior to that game, Notre Dame had won seven in a row against the Cavaliers, and that loss left a bad taste in their mouths.
"That's a game that we feel we should've won, and could've won," Irish senior attack Brendan Gleason said. "To get another shot at them, we're definitely excited for it this weekend."
"We didn't play our best," Irish junior midfielder Bryan Costabile said. "We know that we're a really good team. We know that in that game we didn't show our best performance, and we're a much better team than when we played them back in March, so I'm really looking forward to it. I think if we play to our potential like we did against Duke - and we didn't even play our best there - I think we'll be able to beat anyone."
The team is eager for another shot at Virginia, and they believe they are a much better team since that early season loss.
"Recently we just started playing more consistent," Gleason said. "We're just playing a more consistent game for the full 60 minutes rather than the ups and downs we've seen in past games. We hope to keep doing that going forward."
"Honestly, I think we've all just played together," Costabile said. "Defensively and offensively, we've all talked about being together, we're all one unit, one family, and a lot of times at the beginning of the year, people were trying to do too much, or too little, and we're not all on the same agenda, and I think now it's much more camaraderie and we're all like, alright, we've got one goal in mind, it's the next game, it's the next play, it's the next ground ball, everything like that. So I think that helps our momentum going into this game on Saturday."
Notre Dame will play for back-to-back conference championships when they take on Virginia in Charlottesville on Saturday at 2pm. The game will air on ESPNU.