The 2023 college lacrosse season was remarkable in so many ways. A brand new champion was crowned, young programs made significant steps, and shockingly there was more controversy surrounding the current rules of the game. All in all, the game is as strong as it’s ever been and the 2023 college season has set us all up for a phenomenal summer of lacrosse with the PLL.
Here are some takeaways from 2023 as we look forward to 2024.
1) Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold – Notre Dame and Duke, both snubbed from the NCAA Tournament in 2022, managed to find their way to Memorial Day with the Irish taking home their first national title.
2) The Irish Break Through – One of the games most consistent programs finally joined entered elite status with their first national championship.
3) Sidelines Will Miss Bill Tierney – The legend himself rides off in the sunset and the game will forever be grateful.
4) Instant Replay – It needs to happen. Do we have to explain why?
5) The ACC is King – Three of final four teams playing on Championship Weekend came out of the ACC. You can’t deny the fact that the ACC was on top of the 2023 college lacrosse season.
6) The Ivy League Came Down to Earth in a Big Way – After a huge year in 2022, the Ivy League didn’t have quite the same success in 2023.
7) Quarterfinals Need to Be in Annapolis – The atmosphere was electric, and it’s time to make it a permanent site.
8) The Youth Movement Is Real – This 2023 college lacrosse season’s freshman class featured the future superstars of the game, led by Joey Spallina. He is as advertised and will terrorize defenses for years to come.
9) Cascade Is King of the Helmet Game – With STX having supply chain issues and Warrior not releasing a new helmet in some time, Cascade is the undisputed king when it comes to helmets.
10) Syracuse Is Back – While they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, the Orange has shown they are for real and they will be scary good over the next few years.
11) Delaware On the Rise – The Blue Hens will get to Championship Weekend sooner rather than later. Coach DeLuca has the Hens trending upward.
12) Jim Berkman on Mount Rushmore – 13 national championships, 600 wins, countless All-Americans, and the 2023 college lacrosse season may have been his masterpiece.
13) Something Special Brewing in Hickory – Lenoir-Rhyne breaks through and wins its first title. Alumni, fans, and tremendous school support equals a potential dynasty in the making.
14) Go Blue Isn’t Going Anywhere – Congrats on the breakthrough year for the Michigan Wolverines. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when.
15) Division I Continues to Grow – 2024 will feature two new teams. Le Moyne makes the jump and Iona will start from scratch.
16) Division 3 Needs to Fix the Pod Situation – Get rid of the back-to-back games especially for the Elite 8 and Final Four.
17) We Want More Will Get More – Hopkins had a resurgent 2023 college lacrosse season and will not sneak up on anyone in 2024. Led by a solid offense and a strong defense, the Jays have a chance to be scary good.
18) Everyone Can Play This Game – Williams Matt Freitas stole the show this year with his play and his perseverance. The Division 3 Goalie of the Year had the best story of the 2023 college lacrosse season.
19) The Old Division 2 is Dead, Long Live the New – With Le Moyne being the latest in a growing trend of Division II schools transitioning to Division I, the DII landscape will have a much different feel moving forward.
20) Defenders Beware, There’s Elite Attackmen Everywhere – O’Neill, Shellenberger, Kirst, the Kavanagh brothers, and Spallina; all These Guys are Back in 2024 along with a handful of other studs.
21) The Rich Get Richer – The ACC and Big Ten are the big winners of the 2023 college lacrosse season with the Ivy League’s COVID fifth-year ruling. Would things have changed had the Ivy League granted fifth-year waivers?
22) Younger Programs Can Run With the Big Dogs – Utah and Michigan got into the NCAA Tournament while Jacksonville upset Duke earlier in the year. Richmond gave UVA a run for its money. The next step is to see one of these schools break through and get to Championship Weekend.
23) The Game Is as Strong as It’s Ever Been – TV ratings are up, talent is at its all-time peak, and institutions are making significant investments into their programs. The game is primed for the next big jump.