April 23, 2015
The No. 11 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team extended a school record streak of years with a Tewaaraton trophy nominee to four on Thursday when both sophomore attacker Cortney Fortunato and senior defender Barbara Sullivan were named to the list of 25 candidates for the sport’s highest collegiate prize.
Sullivan was also a nominee in 2013. The 2014 season saw Margaret Smith reach this stage for the Irish while Maggie Tamasitis was a 2012 nominee. It is the first time that Notre Dame has had two nominees since 2009 when Shaylyn Blaney and Jillian Byers both reached this stage. Sullivan joins Byers as the only two-time nominees in Notre Dame history.
Fortunato and Sullivan will not aim to make the cut on May 7 to become Notre Dame’s first Tewaaraton Trophy finalist since Byers in 2009.
A first-team All-America selection in 2013, Sullivan missed nearly all of the 2014 season with a back injury but has rounded back to her old form as a senior in 2015. Sullivan’s 28 caused turnovers top the ACC, a category where each of the top four dress for Notre Dame which employs a particularly aggressive defensive system. Sullivan is tied with teammate Alex Dalton for fourth in the ACC with 34 ground balls. With her tall stature and leaping ability, Sullivan has been a crucial link on draw controls. Sullivan has 64 on the season to date, just three shy of matching her school record of 67 set in 2013. She peaked with nine on April 4 in a 14-4 win at No. 4 Virginia, matching her own single game school record.
With Sullivan often marking the opponent’s top attacker, the Irish are third in the ACC with a 9.13 team goals against average.
Fortunato tops all ACC players with both her 54 goals and 70 points on the year, ranking her sixth nationally in each category. Additionally, although patrolling just two thirds of the field as an attacker, Fortunato is second to Sullivan in the entire ACC with her 27 caused turnovers.
The sophomore has exceeded her goal and point scoring totals from a freshman season where she was named both an All-American and the co-rookie of the year nationally. Fortunato has a hat trick in 10 of Notre Dame’s 16 games this season. She fell one goal shy of a school record with her eight in a win over Virginia Tech on March 14 and tied a school record by scoring six goals in one half (the second) of Notre Dame’s 21-12 win over Michigan on April 12.