Cornell’s face off with Rutgers this Saturday in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four will be a Kirst family affair as sophomore attacker CJ Kirst will look to score against his brother, Rutgers goalie Colin Kirst.
While it’s brother vs. brother, going into the game, there’s no animosity between them, CJ said.
“[There’s] definitely no trash talk. We’re both just super supportive of each other and it’s just a dream come true for both of us to be able to play on the stage so having this opportunity is just super exciting, super exciting for our family,” CJ said. “I know my mom’s really excited as well”
The Ivy League Rookie of the Year and an honorable mention All-American, CJ has had an exemplary rookie year on the team. He finished second on the team in points, assists and goals. CJ also ranks in the top 35 nationally in goals per game. His goal-scoring prowess will make the game interesting as he looks to score against Colin to help lead the Red to the championship match.
“I have been shooting on him my entire life,” CJ said.
Despite the familiarity between the two, though, scoring goals still won’t be any easier.
“[Colin’s] had a tremendous year so far, and he’s capable of changing any game… if he gets comfortable, it’s gonna be a little scary going against him, but I hope I can get the best of him a little bit — we’ll see,” CJ said.
Coming from a lacrosse family, CJ knew that one day, he may play against one of his four brothers at some point, but to play on college lacrosse’s biggest stage in the final four, CJ says, is a “dream come true.”
With four of the five brothers currently playing Division 1 lacrosse, there was always a possibility that they could face each other in the tournament one day.
On Selection Sunday, the Kirst family thought that Cornell and Rutgers could face each other in the first round, but Cornell drew Ohio State and Rutgers drew Harvard. However, they ended up on the same side of the draw, meaning they wouldn’t reach the finals without facing each other.
“Once we saw that we were on the same side, we knew that it could be a potential game to play against each other in the Final Four, but we never really talked about it,” CJ said, noting that they did not want to get ahead of themselves and took it game by game. “Now that we’re finally here, it’s just surreal. We’re just really excited and I can’t wait to get out there.”
When all is said and done, CJ said that whatever happens on Saturday, there will be no bad blood between the two or in the family.
“No matter what the result is, I know my mom’s just gonna give us a big hug at the end of the day and say she’s proud of us…and I’m gonna do the same thing to Colin, so we’re both really excited,” CJ said.