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Best Rivalry In the State: Judge v. Juan Diego

Judge Juan Diego
Judge v. Juan Diego
About a month ago, I asked the Utah Lacrosse News Facebook fans, “What is the best rivalry in the State?” 55 people responded and came to the conclusion that Judge v. Juan Diego takes the top spot. I asked Juan Diego Head Coach Pat Lambert, who went to Judge, and Judge Head Coach Dave Allen what made the rivalry so special.
Coach Lambert:

The rivalry between Judge and Juan Diego is special because of all the connections between the squads. I was a member of the early years of lacrosse in Utah. Dave Allen was my coach. He is an incredible teacher. Both my brothers and myself all won State Championships under Dave Allen. Juan Diego and Judge have a mutual respect for each other that runs very deep. We root for each other when we are not playing each other. We have the tradition of playing each other on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, each year. The teams gather for a Catholic mass before the game. All of the players have this game marked on their schedule long in advance in preparation for playing the Judge squad.
Judge and Juan Diego are similar in many ways. I think both Dave and myself try to teach to the whole person not just focusing on the lacrosse player. We try to practice what we preach in the way we treat those around us.  Many of my players have friends or even family members that go to Judge.  We have shared a bus to Colorado and rooted for each other the entire time.  As a Judge graduate and coach of the Juan Diego lacrosse team it is important for me to push the healthy rivalry while keeping the bigger picture in perspective.

Coach Allen:

Other than the obvious Catholic School connection, I think the Juan Diego – Judge Memorial lacrosse rivalry exists because Patrick and I have a real friendship and respect for each other. He graduated from Judge in ’97 and after coming back from Colorado State University, I really wanted him to help me at Judge. I liked his approach to the game and thought he would be a great asset to our program. But I also completely understood why he went to Juan Diego and supported his decision, and I think Patrick has done a fantastic job growing his program.
While Judge dominated the first few years, our recent games with Juan Diego have been very close affairs. Beginning in 2009, Patrick and I agreed to have the rivalry game annually on St. Patrick’s Day. At the first game, Pat brought kelly-green polo shirts embroidered with the Judge and Juan Diego logos. It was a way to show respect constructively to the kids, and show that even though the game may be “hotly” contested, it is still just a game and we should be having fun with it. He also was instrumental in having the teams celebrate a pre-game mass together, where the priest gave a similar message. So Pat has shown that even intense opponents can have respect and fun together. Even though one of us is the victor, we always cheer for the other to do well.

Speaking of results, the two teams have played 12 times since 2002 when Juan Diego was the Eagle Lacrosse Club. Judge has won 10 of the games, but nine of the games have been decided by 3 goals or less. In 2011, on St. Patrick’s Day, Judge beat Juan Diego 5-4. The two teams met in the playoffs as well with Judge winning by 1 goal, 7-6, in Double Overtime.

What is the best rivalry in the State?
What is the best rivalry in the State?
The second place award went to Utah v. Westminster. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams have just as many connections as Judge and Juan Diego and always play a close game.
Do you agree? Who do you think is the best rivalry in the State?

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