June 30, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
Notre Dame’s 2016 season may have ended but the good news continues to roll in for the Irish.
Three Notre Dame players from this past spring, Cortney Fortunato, Casey Pearsall and Barbara Sullivan, have been invited by US Lacrosse to tryout for the 2017 US National Team. Tryouts are August 5-7 in Sparks, Maryland with 36 players advancing into the next pool of tryouts ahead of the 2017 Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England.
Both Fortunato and Sullivan have experience competing on an international level for the United States. Both competes for Team USA at the 2011 U-19 World Championships, helping the Americans to a gold media with Fortunato taking home all-world honors in the process.
Two of the sport’s main publications, Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine, recently recognized its national elite players and did included the Irish. Inside Lacrosse’s All-ILWomen team included a pair of Notre Dame players in attacker Cortney Fortunato and defender Barbara Sullivan. The publication also recognized goalie Samantha Giacolone and attacker Nikki Ortega by placing each on its all-rookie team. Lacrosse Magazine included Sullivan on its All-American team.
A fledgling professional league for women’s lacrosse, the UWLX, has recently begun play and faces familiar to Notre Dame fans are on two of its four rosters.
Sullivan is playing for the Philadelphia Force but as a midfielder. She scored twice in her pro debut against Long Island on June 11 and added an assist against Baltimore on June 18.
Also competing in UWLX is Crysti Foote (2003-06) who has tallied a trio of goals for the Baltimore Ride through five games.
In recognition of their tremendous work off of the field in addition to their stellar efforts on it, five Irish players were recently named to the Academic All-ACC women’s lacrosse team. The squad contains the league’s top players who also have achieved a minimum grade point average over their four-year careers. This year’s quintet of Irish honorees were Brie Custis, Alex Dalton, Cortney Fortunato, Casey Pearsall and Rachel Sexton.
When a team finds an extended run of success like the Irish have of late, those behind the success often receive tremendous professional opportunities and this is just the case for assistant coach Sarah Dalton. The native Vermonter has returned home to be the head coach of the University of Vermont.
Dalton worked regularly with the Notre Dame offense for the past three seasons, helping the Irish rank seventh in the nation in scoring this spring. Notre Dame, of course, reached the NCAAs in each of the last three seasons, and in all four of Dalton’s overall years as an assistant coach with the Irish.
The often-repeated line in the NCAA commercials goes that most student-athletes go pro in something other than sports. For the 2016-17 academic year, two of this past year’s seniors will be working within Notre Dame Athletics. Katherine McManus will work as an intern in Student Welfare and Development while Barbara Sullivan will serve as an intern in the athletic marketing office.
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’s lacrosse teams 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.