One of the fastest growing sports in America is lacrosse. In Massachusetts, the Boston Cannons play at Harvard Stadium and have won the Steinfield Cup championship in 2011. With that being said, the biggest weekend for the sport of lacrosse is Memorial Day weekend, when an NFL stadium becomes the destination for tens of thousands of lacrosse fans for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Weekend. The weekend consists of the Division I semifinals and championship games, as well as the championship games of Division II and Division III, and generates an estimated $22.2 million for the local economy.
Gillette Stadium in Foxboro has hosted this weekend on four separate occasions, with plans to host it a fifth time in 2018. Each time the event has been hosted at Gillette Stadium, it has been met with incredible success. Each of the four Division I championship games held at Gillette Stadium have landed in the top 11 championship games attendances of all-time. The 2008 Championship Game still holds the attendance record with 48,970 fans watching Syracuse defeat Johns Hopkins.
2008 Championship Weekend
The first time that Gillette Stadium hosted the Lacrosse Championships it was the most attended weekend in the tournament’s history. The Division I semifinals saw a doubleheader featuring Syracuse vs. Virginia and Johns Hopkins vs. Duke. 48,224 fans showed up those Saturday games that saw two one-goal games that included a double-overtime winner by Syracuse to advance to Monday’s championship. Johns Hopkins also avenged an earlier loss by beating Duke to advance to the championship. In the championship a record crowd watched Syracuse win their 10th national championship with a 13-10 win over Johns Hopkins. The Sunday games saw New York Tech defeat La Moyne 16-11 to capture their fourth Division II title and Salisbury win their eighth Division III championship with a win over SUNY-Cortland 19-13.
2009 Championship Weekend
For the second consecutive year, Gillette Stadium hosted the Men’s Lacrosse Championship weekend, and for the second straight year, Syracuse, Duke and Virginia all made it to Foxboro while Cornell replaced Johns Hopkins as the fourth team. Saturday’s semifinal games saw 36,594 fans enter through the gates to watch Cornell and Syracuse advance to Monday’s championship game. Syracuse routed Duke 17-7 while Cornell surprisingly dominated a heavily-favored Virginia squad 15-6. Monday’s championship game pitted together the two New York team’s, where Syracuse put together a late 4th-quarter rally and erased a three-goal Cornell lead to force overtime. Syracuse scored after forcing a turnover early in overtime to capture their second straight championship and 11th overall. The Division II Championship was won by CW Post (now LIU Post) by defeating Le Moyne 8-7, their first of two consecutive championships. In the Division III game, SUNY Cortland redeemed themselves with a 9-7 win over Gettysburg for their second championship in school history.
2012 Championship Weekend
After two years in Baltimore, the tournament finals returned to Gillette Stadium for 2012 weekend. Duke made their third trip to Foxboro for the semifinals, facing off against ACC foe Maryland in the semifinals. The other semifinal consisted of Notre Dame and Loyola of Maryland. Duke once again suffered a tough defeat, losing to Maryland 16-10 in the semifinals. Loyola continued their dream season, advancing to Monday’s championship by defeating Notre Dame 7-5. Loyola dominated the championship game, beating Maryland 9-3 to complete an 18-1 season just one year after failing to make the NCAA tournament. The Division II Championship Game saw Dowling defeat Limestone 11-10 for their first national championship in school history. Salisbury captured their 10th Division III championship, once again beating SUNY Cortland, this time by a score of 14-10.
2017 Championship Weekend
In 2017, Gillette Stadium made some history as only the second stadium to host the men’s and women’s NCAA lacrosse championships in the same year, the other being Byrd Stadium in College Park, MD. Games where played from Friday through Monday to make for the largest gathering of lacrosse fans seen in decades. On Friday night, the Division I women’s semifinals took place, with undefeated and #1 ranked Maryland dominating Penn State and the local team in Boston College knocking off Navy late in the game. On Sunday, Maryland knocked off Boston College by a score of 16-13 to capture their 13th national championship in school history. The championship game set a women’s attendance record with 11,668 fans at the game. The Maryland men were also the #1 seed in the tournament and edged Denver in their semifinal match-up to set up a Monday championship game against fellow Big Ten opponent Ohio State, who staged an epic comeback against Towson. Come Monday afternoon, the Terrapin sweep was complete, as the Maryland men beat Ohio State to win their third national championship in men’s program history and make the trip well worth it for the Maryland faithful. The Division II men’s championship game included local-favorite Merrimack College, who fell short to Limestone College by a score of 11-9, as the Saints captured their third title in four years and fifth overall. In the Division III championship, Salisbury continued their winning ways at Gillette Stadium, capturing their third title in Foxboro and 12th overall with a 15-7 rout over RIT.
2018 Championship Weekend
Memorial Day Weekend 2018 will see the return of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships to Gillette Stadium for the fifth time. The men’s Division I semifinals and finals will take place Saturday and Monday, while the Division II and Division III championships will take place on Sunday of the weekend.