Feb. 23, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman Cortney Fortunato scored four times and added an assist as the No. 15 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (2-1) picked up an 8-7 win on Saturday night over No. 12 Stony Brook (2-1) at the Loftus Sports Center.
The Irish rolled out to a 7-2 lead early in the second half. Stony Brook closed it to an 8-6 Irish lead midway through the second stanza. With 11:51 left in the game, Notre Dame’s Stephanie Toy caused a turnover and scooped up the ground ball. The Irish called timeout and then controlled the ball for about 11:00 of the final 11:51 to hang on for the win.
“Offense was part of our defense today,” Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said of holding the Seawolves to seven goals. “Our time of possession was outstanding. Quite honestly, that’s what might have won the game besides the key defensive stand and saves by Allie Murray. Our defense was cohesive. They stuck to the game plan and used their natural athleticism to shut down wide open looks.”
Notre Dame took a quick 2-0 lead as Fortunato scored a pair of goals 6:29 into the contest. The Seawolves recorded two of the next three tallies to make it a 3-2 Irish lead at the 17:39 mark. The score remained that way for the next 11 minutes before Notre Dame ended the half with a flurry. The Irish scored thrice in the first half’s final 5:49 to take a 6-2 lead into intermission. Caitlin Gargan started the string on a free position shot. Toy struck at 2:28 off of the second of three Casey Pearsall assists on the day and Fortunato completed her second hat trick in three collegiate games, set up by Toy, with 53 seconds left in the half.
Fortunato would set up Rachel Sexton’s second goal of the game to give ND that 7-2 advantage with 29:15 left in the game. Stony Brook would score four of the next five goals, three of them by Dorrien Van Dyke, to cut their deficit to 8-6 with 17:39 to play. The Irish would dominate the pace of play down the stretch with goalkeeper Allie Murray coming up big a couple of times when the Seawolves did gain possession. Alyssa Cardillo scored for Stony Brook on a free position shot with 1:41 left in the game, making it 8-7, but Fortunato controlled the draw and the Irish held the ball until there were just four seconds left in the game.
“That’s why we put her there,” Halfpenny said of Fortunato’s crucial draw control. “To make sure that we could seal that game in the final possession, e moved Cortney up there. That’s part of the stick skills she has. She can get the ball, pull it down, and there’s zero question who has control if the ball.”
Next up for Notre Dame is its first road game of the year, a trip to No. 1 North Carolina. The Fighting Irish will battle the defending national champion Tar heels on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Chapel Hill. The game will be streamed live online on ESPN3.