The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Men’s Lacrosse: Podgajny finishes final year

Ellyn Michalak | Thursday, April 17, 2008

Senior Michael Podgajny wasn’t always aware of his innate lacrosse abilities.

“I grew up in a baseball family, with my father as the coach and older brother as the star player,” Podgajny said. “I followed those footsteps.”

The Ridley Park, Pa. native now serves as a crucial member to the No. 11 nationally ranked Irish squad. Appearing in 37 games and starting since his freshman year, Podgajny earned All-America accolades his junior season and has compiled 70 points for his team (43 goals and 27 assists).

After lacrosse became popular in the Philadelphia area, Podgajny decided to give the sport a shot.

“My father suggested that I play, and I instantly fell in love with the game,” he said. “So I began playing lacrosse during 5th grade.”

Podgajny went on to attend Ridley High School where he led his team to three consecutive Pennsylvania state championships, became an All-American lacrosse player his senior year, and was named MVP during the 2003 season.

“One of my best memories from high school was playing against [my] current teammate and roommate Ross Zimmerman at the Boy’s Latin School tournament,” he said. “That was the first time we met and played along side each other. The memories I have from high school lacrosse are some that I will never forget.”

Upon his high school graduation, Podgajny faced several solid offers to play lacrosse from top universities, such as Princeton, Penn State and Notre Dame. Despite his Polish last name, Podgajny comes from an Irish Catholic family, and has always dreamt of attending Our Lady’s university.

“It has been a dream of members of my family for me to attend Notre Dame.  After receiving recruiting interest, my family and I came to visit Notre Dame for the first time after my junior year in high school,” he said. “I felt home the minute I stepped on campus.”  

Now nearing his college graduation, the finance major might have another tough decision to make.

“After graduation, I will be working as an associate for SEI Investments in Oaks, Pa.,” he said. “If I am presented with the opportunity to play in the MLL after college, I do plan to play lacrosse.”

Beginning in 2001, the Major Lacrosse League now consists of 10 teams nationwide.

But for now, the senior wants to concentrate on fulfilling his team’s goal for the remainder of the season – to win the rest of the games on the schedule, the conference tournament for the second year in a row, and finally, the national championship.

“My experience at Notre Dame has been remarkable. Having made friends and memories for life, I could not imagine life any differently,” he said.