The stage is set for the men’s Final Four of the 2023 NCAA lacrosse championship. Both semifinal games will be played on May 27th with the championship finale coming on the 29th. The four remaining teams all have rich lacrosse histories and should provide great entertainment as we enter the final weekend of the season. We’re going to break down both semifinal games with a prediction for the 2023 national champion.
1. Duke vs 5. Penn State
The Blue Devils have been a force to be reckoned with the entire season and that hasn’t stopped during these playoffs. Duke took down Delaware and Michigan to get to this point and now look to finish the job. They are led by Dyson Williams who is scoring 3.35 goals per game and Brennan O’Neil who is second in the nation in points per game.
For Penn State, they have one of the most talented goalies in net and he’ll need to show out against a strong Duke offense. Jack Fracyon has a .572 save percentage which is fourth best in the nation and ranks second best in the nation in total saves with 210. He has stood strong, allowing 12 and nine goals through the first two games on the bracket.
Duke is the number one team in the nation for a reason. They’ve gone 15-2 this season and hope to make it back to the national championship. They’ve not won a title since 2014 against Notre Dame.
2. Virginia vs 3. Notre Dame
What a matchup we have in this game. Virginia has been on a tear and dominant all season long and they bounced Richmond and Georgetown to make it to this stage. These two teams met earlier in the year, with Virginia taking home a 12-8 victory. Winners of two of the last three tournaments, Virginia has a lot of expectations entering this final weekend of play as they try to cement themselves as a dynasty program in the sport if they can bring home another national championship trophy. They certainly have the experience and pedigree to get the job done.
For Notre Dame, you can’t overlook goalie Liam Entenmann who ranks 5th in the nation in save percentage and has been a brick wall during these playoffs. The Irish ranked 5th as a team in caused turnovers which is the best of any team remaining in this tournament. They are a scrappy team and can get the best of anyone on any given day which will make this matchup fun to watch.
Championship: 1. Duke vs 2. Virginia
In the end, I see the two best teams advancing to the final and I think the Cavaliers will win another title in their storied run over the last few years. Xander Dickson and Payton Cormier are as fierce of a two-headed scoring monster as they come in the country and they both rank within the top 10 in goals this season which will be a heavy task for Duke to try and control.