PEORIA, Ill. — It’s hard work being the team that everybody is hunting.
Notre Dame feels that way. The Irish kind of sneaked up on people last year but that’s not the case this season.
“It’s going to be different than last year because I think we had a surprise people early last year, ND head coach Tom Lacher said. “But we’re not going to do that anymore. So you have to be ready from the get-go.”
Last year, the Irish season ended with an overtime loss to Manual in the sectional championship game. Notre Dame was one win shy of advancing to the Elite 8.
The players say this season started just hours after that game ended in March.
“As soon as we lost that game, I texted coach Lacher and I told him we all needed to get into the gym as soon as possible,” junior Noah Reynolds said
The Irish admit their summer workouts were fueled by the fire of that season-ending loss.
“We’ve all been putting in the extra work, shooting with each other, in the weight room a lot,” said senior Connor Dillon. “It’s always in the back of our mind still. It kind of hurt us. We’re ready for it again.”
Notre Dame is off to a 5-0 start this season and has already won twice in the Big 12 Conference.
“Learning from it,” Lacher said. “Learning from the disappointment of defeat is the biggest thing.”