Men's Lacrosse: Doyle shows glimpses of stardom as a freshman
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:09
Less than a year after the graduation of former Irish star-midfielder Zach Brenneman, freshman attack Conor Doyle has taken on the lofty challenge of filling his big shoes.
Doyle, who wears Brenneman’s old number 28, said he is constantly reminded of who previously wore the jersey for No. 6 Notre Dame (6-1,1-0 Big East).
“I’ve never worn number 28 before. It was the lowest number available, so I just picked it,” Doyle said. “Then people are like, ‘Hey, what do you think you’re like Zach Brenneman or something?’ It didn’t even come to me that it was his number.”
Despite their difference in position, Doyle and Brenneman have been compared to one another by their teammates. Doyle has started six of Notre Dame’s first seven games as a freshman, while Brenneman — now playing professionally in MLL for the Long Island Lizards — did not start, but played in all 17 Irish contests his freshman season.
“Zach was an amazing player, and Conor definitely has the potential to be as good — if not better — than Zach,” Irish senior attack Sean Rogers said. “He has that potential, but potential is one thing. He has to go out and do it every day.”
Doyle comes from a lacrosse family, having two older brothers, Kevin and Jack, who played midfield for the Naval Academy and Harvard lacrosse teams, respectively. He also has a sister in high school and a brother in fifth grade back home in Baltimore.
Doyle said his family motivates him to be the best he can be on the field.
“[My older brothers have] both been through a lot, and I definitely look up to them a lot. They have both played more than me,” he said. “I want to make my two brothers proud because I’m the middle child. I also want to set a good example for my younger sister and my younger brother.”
Doyle said he exchanges texts and phone calls with his brothers before his games. He said they emphasize he must savor his lacrosse career because it flies by quickly.
Jack Doyle said he uses his experience to help his brother focus the night before a game.
“Accomplish everything you can while you’re there. It goes
fast and we just try and put that perspective on it,” he said. “You think, ‘As a freshman I have four years, it’s going to take forever.’ Your older brothers can tell you that you have to enjoy every practice, every game, and enjoy your friends.”
Doyle, who has a strong interest in the field of history, said he relates the game of lacrosse to our nation’s past.
“I feel like lacrosse is a real spiritual game, being a Native American sport. The Native Americans were really spiritual people,” he said. “The best players really kind of preach cherishing the game and respecting it. Before I go out and play a game or practice, it’s kind of in the back of my mind, to respect the game and play lacrosse.”
Seven games into his career, Doyle is already showing signs of developing into the next Irish star. He has recorded three goals and three assists and has helped Notre Dame achieve a 6-1 record, despite a challenging schedule.
He is working to surprise his team, however, by filling the shoes of the previous number 28 — a tall order for any player.
Brenneman agreed with the message that Doyle’s brothers continue to preach.
“I’d say don’t take anything for granted. Life at Notre Dame is short, especially playing lacrosse,” he said. “Give every day to try and get better. Make your practice about your evolution as a player. Wearing a number means nothing except who you are inside. 28 or 98 — doesn’t matter
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