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Matt Kavanagh to coach with CDM and Surf Dawgs

Former Notre Dame All American attackman Matt Kavanagh recently joined the CDM coaching staff
Former Notre Dame All-American attackman Matt Kavanagh recently joined the CDM lacrosse staff. Whenever possible, he will also work with Surf Dawg players throughout the winter and spring seasons. Matt was a teammate of former Sea Kings and Surf Dawgs Ryan Mix and Hugh Crance in South Bend, and after making two appearances in the Pacific Coast Shootout, he was excited to come back to Southern California in a new and different role. This past summer, Coach Kavvy joined former CDM and Surf Dawg standout Noah Molnar and former CDM Assistant Coach Jeremy Sieverts on the Denver Outlaws in Major League Lacrosse. His three goal performance in the title game helped the Outlaws win the 2016 MLL Championship.

We recently sat down with Coach Kavanagh.

CDMLAX: What made you decide to get involved with HS coaching?

MK: Growing up on Long Island, I was fortunate enough to learn the fundamentals of lacrosse from some of the best players and coaches the sport had to offer. John DeTommaso, a US Lacrosse Hall of Famer and John Hopkins grad was my coach through out elementary school when I was first learning how to play. His influence on me at a young age definitely had a positive effect on me through out my high school and college playing days. I want to be able to give back to the game and share my experiences and advice to young lacrosse players so they too can have the opportunity to excel at the high school and collegiate level.

CDMLAX: Why did you choose CDM and Southern California?

MK: Playing in Orange County twice during college was an incredible experience (2014 and 2016 Pacific Coast Shootouts). It's great to see the game growing in Southern California and I want to contribute to that growth. I think the more successful players and teams that are developed out west, the more our game will grow into a national sport. Right now it is mostly played on the east coast but we are slowly seeing the increase in college players from the west coast infiltrate rosters. I had two college teammates play for CDM and I could see that there were unbelievable ball players here in Southern California.

CDM LAX: What are some of your best memories of playing lacrosse at Notre Dame?

MK: Playing at Notre Dame was an incredible time in my life. They treated us so well and we were fortunate enough to play in some incredible venues and stadiums. Traveling with the team, spending time with the guys in the airports, hotels and on the road will always be some of my favorite memories. Playing wise, I think the game at Hofstra against Albany will always stick out to me. That win took us to the 2014 Final Four and it was made even more special because I got to play in front of my family and friends on Long Island. In front of a sold out crowd at Hofstra, it seemed like the only people cheering for the Irish were our family members right behind our bench. You could understand why the majority of the crowd was hoping we would lose, as the Thompson brothers were our opponent. From start to finish that game will go down as one of the craziest lacrosse games of all time.

CDM LAX: What are the biggest challenges going from high school to Division I lacrosse?

MK: The jump from high school to Division 1 was all about speed and strength. From the first practice my freshman year I knew I was going to have to improve my quickness and strength if I wanted to be a successful attackman at Notre Dame. Our strength and conditioning program helped out a ton with that and by the end of the fall I felt extremely comfortable playing at the college level. The speed of the game picks up a considerable amount. That meant not only are guys faster and stronger, but the ball moves at a rapid pace compared to the high school game. Learning to move the ball quicker and think two plays ahead were key factors to my success as a young freshman.

CDM LAX: How about the transition from college to the MLL? What’s that like?

MK: Just like high school to Div. 1, the jump from college to the MLL was hard to grasp right away because of (you guessed it) the speed of the game. The transition to the pros was tough for me because I was learning how to play a new position my first few games in the league. I was coming out of the box to dodge short sticks and getting right off when the ball went the other way. With the shot clock, valuing the ball was much different than it was in college, which made the offensive strategy a bit more fun and creative. The pace of the game rips up and down the field and allows the offense to take more chances than a college level game.

CDM LAX: What are some of the things the game has given you?

MK: Lacrosse has given me more than I could have dreamed of. I got the chance to study at one of the best colleges in the country, and compete for a national championship. I have built life long friendships with people from all over the country and different parts of the world. It has given me a platform to become a role model and teacher for young lacrosse players all over the country. I am forever in debt for what this game has given me.

A bit more about "Coach Kavvy"
Coach Kavanagh was a four-time All-American attackman at Notre Dame and a Tewaaraton Finalist as a junior. He was drafted fifth overall by the Denver Outlaws in the 2016 Collegiate Draft and will continue to play for the Outlaws this spring and summer in the MLL. Coach Kavanagh will also work toward earning a roster spot on the U.S. National Team in the FIL World Championships in 2018. He was a member of Team USA when they won the 2012 FIL Under-19 World Championship in 2012. A native of Rockville Centre, NY, Coach Kavanagh played his high school lacrosse at Chaminade and spent a PG year at Hotchkiss before attending Notre Dame. In addition to lacrosse, Coach “Kavvy” played Junior A hockey for NY Applecore in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. 


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