Sept. 11, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team which returns 11 of 12 starters from 2015, including four All-Americans, bolstered itself for a its 2016 team goal of a run deep into the NCAA championship by adding a signing class which Inside Lacrosse magazine this week ranked as the third-best in the nation.
Led by three starters from the USA Under-19 national team, Notre Dame’s class pulled in behind only North Carolina and Maryland for the best collection of incoming talent nationally.
Ranked among the top 50 recruits by Inside Lacrosse were all-world attacker Nikki Ortega (No. 6), Samantha Giacolone (No. 9 and first among goalies), Hannah Proctor (No. 22), Samantha Lynch (No. 47), Jennifer Cassadonte (Watch List) and Makenna Pearsall (Watch List).
The Irish advanced to both the ACC semifinals and the second round of the NCAA championships in 2015. The team brings back eight of the school-record nine players who tallied at least 20 points last spring, led by first-team All-American Cortney Fortunato’s 76 (56 goals and 20 assists). The midfield welcomes back both second-team All-American Alex Dalton and third-team All-American Casey Pearsall, the older sister of freshman Makenna.
The “fast, aggressive and passionate” defense favored by fifth-year head coach Christine Halfpenny will once again be led by graduate student Barbara Sullivan, one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy as national player of the year. Sullivan was named the 2015 ACC’s defensive player of the year and the Inside Lacrosse national defensive player of the year.