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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

'They are the unsung heroes': MOP Entenmann accomplishes NCAA dreams, credits teammates  

The Irish finally did it. Despite years of coming up just short, Notre Dame men’s lacrosse made history Monday, capturing their first national championship with a 13-9 victory over Duke. A suffocating defense, anchored by senior goalie and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (MOP) Liam Entenmann, led the way for Notre Dame.

A strong Irish defense in the first half helped Entenmann hold the skilled Blue Devils to a single goal. Six Duke tallies in the third quarter briefly exposed the Irish defense, but Entenmann and the Irish were able to regroup. Head coach Kevin Corrigan’s preparation for such a scenario allowed the Irish to react and adapt in order to secure the trophy. 

“We almost were braced for it,” Entenmann said. “We knew it was going to happen at some point, and it just happened to happen right when we came out of the tunnel at the second half. But we were ready for it and we knew we had to regroup as a unit and move forward and I thought we did a good job of that.” 

As a lifelong Notre Dame fan, it was a dream for Entenmann to help his team claim the title. But Entenmann also knew this was a dream for all of Corrigan’s players — both past and present. 

“Just looking up into the stands today and seeing Matt Kavanagh, seeing so many guys that helped build this program up to what it is and just shy of winning it all, and just to see them with tears in their eyes and huge smiles on their faces. It's truly one of the best moments of my life to be honest with you,” Entenmann said. 

Entenmann has been the go-to man in the goal for his entire Irish career. He saw the goal for all five games in his COVID-shortened 2020 freshman year. His sophomore season allowed for a proper debut, and Entenmann ensured that the wait was worth it. He played all 12 games and led the ACC in both save percentage (58.5 percent) and goals allowed per game (8.5). He ranked fourth nationwide for both categories.

Once again, Entenmann was a rock for the Irish in his junior year. He continued to dominate the ACC and set a career-high for single game saves with 22. All-American honors have followed him throughout his college career, but no personal recognition is as satisfying as winning tournament MOP. The honor is not just a cherry on top of Notre Dame's long-awaited first championship but a fitting culmination of Entenmann’s impressive contributions to the program. Despite the frequent chaos of the game, Entenmann likes to keep it simple, an approach that helped him make a season-high 18 saves in the title game.

“One thing I like to say about the goalie is it's a hard position, but it's pretty simple at the end of the day, and I think I did a good job of that today,” Entenmann said. “I just really try to see the ball into my stick and nothing more, nothing less.”

Entenmann said it was “an honor” and “a nice recognition” to be named MOP. But he felt the greatest recognition belonged to his teammates, who pushed him day in and day out.

“It's about the guys in the locker room that don't really get a lot of credit or attention from the media and stuff like that, but those are the guys that tested me every day of every week of every preparation for every team,” Entenmann said. “I know it sounds cliche, but I really wouldn't be up here, we wouldn't be champions without the guys that are the unsung heroes of the team and do all the work behind the scenes.”

Years of accountability and grit finally earned the Irish their shining moment. Players capable of being a team's backbone like Entenmann finally made the dream reality.