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Graduated seniors Kyle Thornton (left) and Kyle Gallagher (right) are transferring to Notre Dame. Credit: Son Nguyen

Rivals turned teammates turned teammates again.

Graduated seniors, Kyle Gallagher and Kyle Thornton, started their lacrosse careers playing for rival powerhouse teams in high school in Long Island. They will finish their college lacrosse careers as teammates.

After the coronavirus pandemic cut their senior seasons short, the pair elected to transfer to Notre Dame.

They will look to improve a Fighting Irish team that went 2-3 this year and finished the season ranked 13th in the nation.

Gallagher initially transferred to Penn from Hofstra after his sophomore season, and in his time playing for the Quakers, he made a huge impact. He was named All-Ivy Second Team in his junior season and set Penn's single-season record with 270 faceoff wins and 432 faceoffs taken. Additionally, he ended the season ranked No. 2 in the country with faceoff wins.

In the shortened season, Gallagher was poised to create another significant impact. At the time of the season's pause, Gallagher was leading the nation in ground balls with 15.40 per game and won a career-high 26-of-39 faceoffs against No.7 Penn State.

Thornton has been a staple defender for the Red and Blue since arriving in University City, appearing in 43 games. In his time in Philadelphia, the graduated senior captain accrued 59 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers. He was named All-Ivy Honorable Mention last season. 

Much like Gallagher, Thornton was on track to play a significant role for the Quakers as he scored his first career goal against No.7 Penn State.

The pair were also recently named USILA Academic-All Americans for their work on both the field and in the classroom.

Gallagher hoped that he could finish out his career with the Quakers, but he is happy to be joining the Fighting Irish.

"I really wish I could have done my fifth year at Penn and done a master's program, but it didn't work out like that, and I am happy with my decision," said Gallagher.

While Gallagher knew that Thornton had interest from Notre Dame, he said that the two worked separately on a new school that was fit for them, although Gallagher is happy to have a friendly face in South Bend, IN.

"It was essentially two separate decisions. I knew they contacted him, and he was considering it, but I made my decision, and he made his own, and it just ended up working out for both of us. Having someone to go to Notre Dame with so I am not the new kid again, it will be nice having someone to start with," said Gallagher.

When looking back on his time at Penn, Gallagher will certainly remember the wins and losses, but he will mostly remember the experiences and the people around him.

"Penn was the best two years of my life — I loved every second of it. It is a fantastic place. I would never say a bad thing about it. I love the locker room and the field or hanging out with guys during the week, weekend. It was a great overall experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Again, I wish that COVID didn't happen, and I could go back, but it didn't work out like that," said Gallagher.

While Quaker fans will be sad to see Gallagher and Thornton go, the pair will be transferring to a powerhouse lacrosse team with the potential to make a deep run in the tournament.