May 31, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT
Saturday, May 31
The team left via bus at 7 a.m. from its Erba hotel, making a stop after about three hours at the Museo Ferrari in the small town of Maranello. The actual Ferrari factory is also nearby, but the museum provided a guided, audio-assisted tour of the three floors of cars and other related items.
After a lunch stop, the Irish continued to Centro Sportivo Dei 3 Villaggi in Riccione where at 5:30 p.m. they played their first lacrosse game against a select team from Great Britain (also including other international players). The first game of the doubleheader saw Team Norway defeat Team Italy 17-1—with Italian supporters singing cheers and waving an Italian flag from the bleachers. The Norway team is coached by two former Notre Dame lacrosse players—Dan Scolaro and Jim Morrison.
Team Great Britain (with the national flag adorning players’shorts), coached by Travis Taylor from Loughborough University, featured a dozen United Kingdom players as well as four from Italy and one from Ireland. Several of his Loughborough players competed, including 21-year-old goaltender Toby Cleaver-ross from Blackpool, who had his struggles in the early going but earned his share of cheers when he did make saves.
The game was played under perfect blue skies and 66-degree temperatures, and the Irish got off to a hot start. Notre Dame rolled out to a 13-0 lead after the first period, as Ryan Mix scored three times and John Scoscia added a pair of goals.
After the first period, the Irish donated eight players to the Team GB side and at half all the Notre Dame freshmen began playing for the United Kingdom squad as well. The final score ended up 26-2 for Notre Dame, with Chris Prevoznik and Sergio Perkovic scoring the two Great Britain tallies. Matt Kavanagh had two goals and three assists for Notre Dame as 18 different players notched goals for the Irish.
Among those watching from the sidelines was Fabio Antonelli, who brought lacrosse to Italy about 10 years ago but no longer plays due to multiple concussions. Just in the last four years the list of Italian teams has grown from two to seven and a women’s league is now competing.
The four teams had dinner together at a rooftop pizzeria in Riccione, then the Notre Dame group checked into the Grand Hotel San Marino, high above the Adriatic Sea, after midnight.
Here’s what’s ahead:
Sunday: The Irish play their second game at 11 a.m. versus Team Norway. Then the team is to head to the beach in Rimini.
Monday: At 10 a.m. it’s the Irish vs. Team Italy in another “friendly” match at Riccione.
Check UND.com and WatchND for print and video updates from the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse journey to Italy. Stay connected to this trip on Twitter via @ndlacrosse, @ndheisler & @ndlaxexperience. Use hashtag #NDLaxItaly.
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