Notre Dame lacrosse’s All-Universe long-stick midfielder, captain and senior, John Sexton, took some time to answer questions from the youngest member of our 18Stripes team, ND-Atl 2.0.

Some background on John Sexton

Before we get to the interview, here are a few facts about John:

  • He’s from Sudbury, Massachusetts, and went to Lincoln-Sudbury HS
  • 2018 Co-Captain
  • 2x ACC All-Academic Team
  • 2x All-American
  • 3x ACC Defensive Player of the Week
  • 2018 Inside Lacrosse preseason and mid-season All-American selection
  • ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Post-Graduate Scholarship
  • Drafted April 18th by the MLL’s Dallas Rattlers!

John Sexton speaks with ND-Atl 2.0

What are your plans for after graduation and do you think you will play in the MLL after you college career ends?

Upon graduation I am moving to Chicago IL where I will be working for Marathon Capital as an Investment Banking Analyst. I’ll be working on M&A, tax equity, and other deals within the energy industry. On top of this I hope to have the chance to play in the MLL. I haven’t been able to put much thought into this as I am more focused on finishing out my college career, but I would be honored to be selected to an MLL team.

[NOTE: Right after our interview, John was drafted by the MLL’s Dallas Rattlers were he will play alongside Notre Dame’s Jack Near]

What is your favorite thing about Notre Dame other than lacrosse?

My favorite part about Notre Dame outside of lacrosse is the culture. There are so many unique traditions and events on campus that really help build a strong sense of community around Notre Dame.

How and why did you become an LSM, and have you played other positions?

In high school I played close defense and took faceoffs so the transition to LSM in college made a lot of sense. I was used to being around the middle of the field and had a good sense of the faceoff game because of my experience there. Even as a close defender I was always looking to push transition when I could and had learned a lot about footwork and stick skills from Peter Salvador. My coaches in high school (Brian Vona, and Tim Jason) always encouraged creativity on the field and gave us the freedom to develop unique skill sets. This made the transition into becoming an LSM at Notre Dame near seamless. On top of this, help from our defensive coach Gerry Byrne in regards to how to play team defense from the top of an offensive set, rather than the bottom helped me adapt quickly. I was also fortunate to have great upperclassman LSMs in Henry Williams and Ryan Smith to mentor me at the position along with Eddy Glazener and Matt Landis teaching me the defense.

Another famous LSM, Scott Ratliff, comes to our practices to teach us about leadership. As a team captain, what leadership advice to you have for kids learning to play lacrosse?

Two pieces of advice regarding leadership I have for kids learning to play lacrosse are to always be coachable, and to bring a friend whenever you do extra work. When you are being coached on the field the way you react to this and how you internalize the message conveys a lot about the identity of the team. Always have good body language and do your best to improve on what your coach mentioned to set a good example for others. On top of this, when you are doing extra work you should always be looking to bring someone along with you. Improvement is not a zero sum activity and you should want to help your teammates get better as much as you yourself want to get better. This kind of mentality breeds a culture of accountability for each others actions.

My favorite goal of yours is the one you scored against Georgetown in Atlanta in 2016 (because I saw it live). What is your favorite goal you’ve scored at Notre Dame?

I would have to say that’s my favorite goal as well. I am good friends with the Georgetown goaltender and it was fun to score in the same game as my co-LSM at the time, Hugh Crance. Nick is a great goalie and I knew I’d have to get in tight to have a chance on him. I was fortunate to catch the defense by surprise to some degree and to get to the crease and finish over the top of Nick.

Highlights of John Sexton and Hugh Crance pole-goals against Georgetown 2016


We also saw you play against Duke in the 2016 ACC Championships where you defended a much larger player, Myles Jones. For those of us on my lacrosse team who have not yet hit their growth spurt (ahem, including me), what advice do you have for defending against a much larger player?

Footwork and leverage are the two most important aspects of defending a larger player. As soon as your footwork deteriorates, your leverage begins to disappear. You can’t allow someone larger than you to get a step on you because it becomes much more difficult to recover or compensate for this. So you want to stay low and focus on staying between them and the goal which means limiting stick checks. Making them run through you gives your teammates more time to evaluate slide decisions and play their off-ball roles.

You have won many awards for being a good student-athlete. What is the hardest part about being a good student while you are an athlete, and what is strategy to be a good student?

Time management and organization are the keys to balancing academics and athletics. I like to set short-term and long-term academic goals and then schedule out time periods to meet these. This limits the amount of time I waste trying to figure out what I should be doing and also keeps me on track so that nothing builds up and becomes a last second issue. This also allows me to build in time for extra work either on the field, in weight room, or to just hang out with friends without jeopardizing my standing in any of my classes.

If you had to pick only one player, which of your teammates do you enjoy defending in practice the most and why?

Bryan Costabile, he’s such a versatile dodger that he’s always challenging me to get better and work on different aspects of my game. Him beating me in practice helps me identify the parts of my game that I need to work on so that it does not happen in a game. On top of this, Bryan is constantly looking to get extra work in and his passion for the games definitely helps fuel mine. His competitive nature definitely rubs off on everyone around him.

We know you have more games to play, but which is your favorite one at Notre Dame so far and why is it memorable to you?

I think my favorite game thus far would have to be the Denver game earlier this season. Prior to that game, the senior class was 0-5 against the Pioneers, including two playoff losses so it meant a lot to get a little revenge on them. On top of this it was a great day for our team defense and a turning point in our faceoff game. My roommate for the past three years, John Travisano, had an awesome day at the X which is always a point of emphasis against the Pios.

Notre Dame’s 2018 win over Denver


Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers and the fans of Notre Dame lacrosse?

We are working as hard as we can day in and day out to improve and greatly appreciate the support of everyone who follows along with our team! We have some of the best fans in lacrosse and never take that for granted. Go Irish!


We appreciate the time John Sexton took to answer some questions for our readers!  John and the rest of the Notre Dame lacrosse team are off to Chapel Hill, NC, to play North Carolina on Saturday, then to Charlottesville, VA, to play in the ACC Championships.  Their first game there will be a rematch against Duke next Friday night, all games on ESPNU.