Feb. 23, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
The women’s lacrosse season is just three weeks old but for the second time, Cortney Fortunato of fifth-ranked Notre Dame has been named the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Week. This week, it would be an Irish sweep of the top league in the country’s weekly honors too as goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone picked up the ACC Defensive Player of the Week accolade.
Fortunato and Giacolone made immense contributions on Sunday as the Irish steamrolled then-No. 9 Boston College, 14-4, in the conference opener inside the Loftus Sports Center. The four goals scored by Boston College against Notre Dame on Sunday marked the Eagles’ lowest offensive output since a 17-3 loss to Virginia Tech on April 21, 2011.
Fortunato recorded a seven-point day with five goals and a pair of assists. The junior first-team All-American has tallied at least four goals in each of Notre Dame’s first three games of the season, all of which have come against teams that played in the 2015 NCAA Championship (Jacksonville, Stanford and Boston College).
The Northport, New York native has also made her presence felt outside of the scoring column. Despite playing attack, Fortunato caused two more turnovers on Sunday, brining her total to seven on the young season to rank third on the Irish. For the season, she leads Notre Dame in the three largest offensive categories with her 13 goals, six assists and 19 points.
The starting goalie for the United States’ Under-19 World Championships team this past summer, Giacolone’s smooth transition to the college game was evident on Sunday as she made 13 saves against the Eagles — the most by an Irish netminder since Ellie Hilling had 14 against Georgetown on April 14, 2013. Giacolone posted a staggering 76.5% save percentage against the Eagles, stopping 13 of BC’s 17 shots on goal. Eight of those saves came in the first half to help the Irish build its commanding 7-2 lead at intermission.
The Manorville, New York native also collected three ground balls against the Eagles and continued to be an effective weapon with her long outlet passes to spark Irish transitional opportunities, utilizing the team’s fleet midfield corps.
With her sharp play in net and the aggressive defense in front of her led by first-team All-American Barbara Sullivan, Giacolone and the Irish have yielded just 18 goals through three games against rigorous NCAA Championship-caliber competition.
Notre Dame gets back to action this weekend with a pair of non-conference games but both against teams that received votes in this week’s Lacrosse Magazine Top 20 poll. Notre Dame faces Colorado at 7 p.m. on Friday and California at noon on Sunday, both inside the Loftus Sports Center.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team while serving as the football publicity team’s top lieutenant. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.