Photo: Courtesy of Newsday
When it was recently announced that Denver Pioneers lacrosse would return to Southern California to showcase one of college lacrosse’s best rivalries next season in the Sixth Annual Pacific Coast Shootout, there was some local disappointment that the duel would not resume at Peter Barton Stadium in Denver. However, both Denver and Notre Dame are taking a smart, strategic approach by scheduling their next contest in SoCal.
Notre Dame has over 7,000 California alumni while Denver boasts 8,800 alumni based in the Golden State, most of whom are located in Southen California. The matchup will offer an ideal opportunity to draw local alumni to the game. However, there is even more to this match. With a burgeoning lacrosse culture in California, this is fertile recruiting ground for both the Fighting Irish and the Pioneers. The California Interscholastic Federation reports growth in participation in overall high school athletics with lacrosse showing the largest percentage increase of any sport, a combined 7.40% or 1,245 new participants in the past year.
With both schools turning into non-east coast perennial powers, there is plenty of future lacrosse talent being developed out west for both squads. While only one girl and four boys were invited from California to the 2018 Under Armour All-America lacrosse games, the West Coast is likely to become a solid source of future stars for college lacrosse. And Denver and Notre Dame are well positioned to capitalize on that growth.
Denver and Notre Dame will square off on Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 PM (PST) at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. This year’s appearance in the Shootout will mark Denver’s second and Notre Dame’s third time playing in Orange County. The Pioneers and Irish met in 2014 in the event’s inaugural game, where Denver beat Notre Dame 10-7. Notre Dame appeared again in the 2016 Shootout, beating Maryland 9-4.