It’s no surprise that two Catholic schools would collaborate on spreading the gospel of lacrosse at the end of the Easter season. Providence College was scheduled to play Big East Conference foe Notre Dame on Saturday April 7. At a coaches convention in December, Friars coach Chris Burdick spoke with Drew Stevenson, an assistant coach at Brother Rice High School, when Burdick wondered if Providence needed a practice facility to use. Stevenson offered up Brother Rice and both teams locked up the deal.
Brother Rice is in its first year of varsity competition, second year overall and is coached by TD Paulius (Brother Rice ’72, Notre Dame ’76), so this was somewhat ironic for Paulius to oversee the Friars’ practice, due to his loyalty to Notre Dame.
“Chris, his assistants and players were great to have here at Rice. Lacrosse is growing in Illinois but not as quickly on the Southside of Chicago so to have the Friars here with the ability of all high school players and younger to sit in the stands and watch practice, was phenomenal,” Paulius noted. “Best of all, Chris requested a youth clinic and we were fortunate enough to have 50 players from 5th through 8th grades brave the weather and come out.”
The campers were treated to almost 1-on-1 instruction at times. It was difficult to determine who was having more fun, the campers or the Providence players.
As a benefit to Providence, Brother Rice had a synthetic turf field that more resembled Notre Dame’s Arlotta Stadium than Providence’s field hockey astroturf did, so it allowed the Friars to acclimate themselves for Saturday’s game.
In his first varsity year, Paulius has had limited success with his Crusaders as they have a 1-3 overall record and 0-2 in the Chicago Catholic League, losing 18-1 to perennial Illinois powerhouse Loyola Academy and then 4-2 to nearby rival, St. Laurence. Notwithstanding this record, he has 57 players spread across three levels of team and expects next year to have over 70 players participate.