July 22, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Building on the momentum of a 2015 season which saw Notre Dame women’s lacrosse advance to the ACC semifinals and earn a fourth consecutive NCAA championship berth, the Irish have made dynamic additions to the squad. Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny announced the addition of seven incoming scholarship freshmen to her program.
The Irish welcome Jenn Casadonte (Dix Hills, New York), Sydney Flynn (Louisville, Kentucky), Samantha Giacolone (Manorville, N.Y.), Samantha Lynch (Huntington, N.Y.), Nikki Ortega (Centereach, N.Y.), Makenna Pearsall (Wilton, Connecticut), Hannah Proctor (Radnor, Pennsylvania) to the 2016 lineup.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse Class of 2019 to Notre Dame, Indiana,” Halfpenny said.
“This class spans the field from goalkeeper all the way to attack. Sam Giacolone brings a wealth of experience between the pipes. She’s quick and aggressive with outstanding game sense. Hannah Proctor will add depth to our defensive unit with her speed and quickness, while Jenn Casadonte, Sydney Flynn, Samantha Lynch, and Makenna Pearsall will compete at midfield. They are all incredibly talented and bring great draw capabilities, high IQ and a warrior mentality to our team between the 30’s. Nikki Ortega comes to Notre Dame as a prolific scoring threat and will add creativity to our strong attack unit. The chemistry this group already has is awesome and their personalities complement one another. They are strong students with focused goals both academically and athletically. We are excited to see the immediate impact they make on the program.”
Below is a brief bio of each player:
Jenn Casadonte * Midfield * 5-5 * Dix Hills, N.Y. / Half Hollow Hills
Graduated from Half Hollow Hills in the spring of 2015 … lettered for five years in lacrosse and four years in soccer, and winter track …served as captain of all three her senior year … honored as the Most Outstanding Athlete, which recognizes outstanding ability shown by high school seniors in athletics, scholarship, leadership, and service to others … News 12 Long Island Scholar Athlete Award recipient … New York State Scholar Athlete Award recipient … a Dellecave Award nominee, given to the top athlete in Suffolk County … named to the U.S. Lacrosse All-Academic team … also, named to the Newsday Top 150 players of Long Island list … recipient of the Town of Huntington Scholar Athlete Award … received the Half Hollow Hills Scholar Athlete Award … helped the lacrosse and soccer team advance to the second round of the playoffs her freshman year and in soccer her senior year… on the track, ran the 55 meters and 300 meters all four seasons … as a junior and senior, led lacrosse team in goals, assists, draw controls, ground balls, and caused turnovers … played for the Long Island Yellow Jackets 2015 Blue (Elite Lacrosse Club), which ranked second in the country … coach of second and third grade PAL lacrosse team …volunteer lacrosse coach for challenged youths … national honors society member … full name is Jennifer Marie Casadonte … born in Manhasset, New York to Donald and Ginny Casadonte … father played lacrosse and mother ran cross country at the University at Albany … brother played lacrosse at SUNY Geneseo and sister currently plays at Fairfield … played club lacrosse along side fellow Irish freshmen Samantha Giacolone, Samantha Lynch and Nikki Ortega.
Sydney Flynn * Midfield * 5-9 * Louisville, Ky. / Sacred Heart Academy
Graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in the spring of 2015 … participated in lacrosse and competitive figure skating in high school … lettered all four years in lacrosse … served as team captain her junior and senior years … helped Sacred Heart to four consecutive state championship games and claim a pair of state titles … scored 274 goals in her high school career, 100 coming during her senior year … honored as Kentucky’s Miss Lacrosse her senior year … Sacred Heart Academy athlete of the year … two time U.S. Lacrosse first Team All-American … three-time U.S. Lacrosse All-Academic team member … three-time first-team all-state … four-time academic all-state … three-time Kentucky Midfielder of the Year … made the state all-star team four times during her career … two-time MVP of the all-star team … played on the Predators lacrosse team in Indiana … helped the team to a WomensLax.com Midwest Showcase tournament championship … also played on the Cardinal Elite Lacrosse club team in Kentucky … selected for the Indiana/Kentucky national teams her freshman and sophomore years … competitive figure skater for 12 years … triple gold medalist with USFSA … a national merit finalist and Kentucky Governor Scholar … national honor society and national Spanish honor society member … full name is Sydney Nicole Flynn … born in Newport Beach, California to Scott and Jennifer Flynn … father played baseball at Iowa … brother also attends Notre Dame and serves as president of the men’s club ice hockey team.
Samantha Giacolone * Goalie * 5-4 * Manorville, N.Y. / Eastport South Manor
Graduated from Eastport South Manor in the spring of 2015 … lettered in six times in lacrosse, four times in basketball and three times in soccer … member of the USA Under-19 national team… named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and All-Academic team member her senior year … named an Under Armour All-American in her senior season … USA Today first team All-American … helped her team during her senior season to a Long Island and New York State Class B championship … named MVP of state semifinal game … Named to state championship all-tournament team … part of the MSG’s top 30 athletes to watch list … ranked as the No. 10 recruit in the nation by Inside Lacrosse … ranked as the top goalie in the nation by Inside Lacrosse … named all league in basketball all four years of high school … named all conference three times … awarded the ESM MVP award twice during her high school career … received the ESM White Letter MVP Award her senior year … named all-county all four years in lacrosse … helped her team to three Suffolk County Class B championships her freshman, sophomore and senior years … named second-team all-Long Island as a sophomore and first-team as both a junior and senior … earned U.S. Lacrosse All-Academic honors … tri-state first-team all-metro and Tri-State Player of the Year as a senior … ranked in the MSG Top 100 Players … received tri-state honorable mention all-metro honors as a junior… earned the ESM Most Outstanding Senior Athlete award, ESM Senior Leadership Award, and the ESM Outstanding Achievement award … section 11 Gold Key winner … final high school career record in net was 88-25 with 1,056 career saves … helped her club team to a Under-15 national championship and four other titles … played for the Long Island Yellow Jackets Lacrosse Club team along side fellow Irish freshmen Jenn Casadonte, Samantha Lynch and Nikki Ortega … member of the National Jr. Honor Society … part of the yearbook committee… full name is Samantha Catherine Giacolone … born in West Islip, New York to Steven and Theresa Giacolone … mother, Theresa, played softball and North Carolina and father, Steven, played soccer at Hofstra.
Samantha Lynch * Midfield * 5-10 * Huntington, N.Y. / Huntington
Graduated from Huntington High School in the spring of 2015 … lettered all four years in lacrosse, soccer, and basketball … named to the Under Armour All-American team her senior year … named Under Armour Underclass All-American in her sophomore and junior years … named all-county in her sophomore and senior year and academic all-county her junior in lacrosse … named all-county in basketball her junior and senior years … part of back-to-back undefeated basketball seasons during her junior and senior years … two-time county finalists in basketball … helped her soccer team to two CHSAA division titles … played for Long Island Yellow Jackets club team … captured six tournament championships with the Yellow Jackets … Vice President of the National Honor Society … received the American Legion Citizenship Award … full name is Samantha Kathleen Lynch … born in Manhasset, New York to Kevin and Deborah Lynch … mother, Deborah, captained Columbia’s basketball and volleyball teams … cousin, Jaimie Morrison, played college lacrosse at Notre Dame from 2010-13, earning all-BIG EAST honors … uncle, Anthony Persico, was an All-American lacrosse player at Manhattanville, and he remains on many Division III record lists today … played club lacrosse along side fellow Irish freshmen Jenn Casadonte, Samantha Giacolone, and Nikki Ortega.
Nikki Ortega * Attack * 5-6 * Centereach, N.Y. / Centereach
Graduated from Centereach High School in the spring of 2015… lettered all four years in soccer and was a six-year starter in lacrosse … member of the USA Under-19 national team… part of 2013 USA U-15 championship team and all-tournament team … named an Under Armour All-American … U.S. Lacrosse All-American and All-Academic team member her junior and senior years … honored with the U.S. Lacrosse Jackie Pitts Award … named to the All-Inside Lacrosse High School team … Newsday Lacrosse Player of the Year in 2015 … Newsday all-Long Island Team … lacrosse team ranked No. 1 in New York State Division A and ranked No. 6 in the nation her senior year … ranks third in the state of New York with 558 career points and fifth with 232 career assists … named Top Attacker at the Nike Ride camp her sophomore year … led lacrosse team to its first undefeated season and its first trip to county playoffs …… named all-county all four years of high school in lacrosse and all-county for soccer her junior year … three-time high school team MVP … played for the Long Island Elite Yellow Jackets club team which won every tournament it played in … honored with an All Tournament Team award … President of Varsity Leaders Club … member of National Honor Society … mentor to Middle Country Youth Lacrosse League … recipient of Nancy Cole Award for her spirit … full name is Nikki Ashley Ortega … born in Port Jefferson New York to Louis and Susan Ortega … played club lacrosse along side fellow Irish freshmen Jenn Casadonte, Samantha Giacolone and Samantha Lynch.
Makenna Pearsall * Midfield/Defense * 5-7 * Wilton, Conn. / Wilton
Graduated from Wilton High School in the spring of 2015 … lettered all four years of high school in lacrosse, and lettered three years in soccer and basketball … helped lacrosse team to a Class M championship her junior year, the Class M final her freshman, sophomore and senior years … served as captain of the lacrosse, basketball and soccer teams her senior year … led the lacrosse team in ground balls, caused turnovers, goals, and assists … named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American … tied the school record for the most draw controls in one season (118) set by her sister, Casey … named to the 2015 MSG Tri-State team … named 2015 MSG all-Connecticut … played on the Newlax lacrosse club team … helped her team to The Rise tournament title in 2013 … participated on the Under Armour New England Girls 2014 team … AP scholar with honors … helped the basketball team become Class LL state champions for the first time in history during her senior year and broke the school record of most consecutive wins (20) … this team was also named Team of the Year by The Norwalk Hour … honored as the basketball team’s Most Improved Player and Co-MVP her senior season … helped the soccer team the a state final in her senior year … honored with leadership award her junior and senior years … Wilton High School Wind Ensemble officer and marching band squad leader … member of the National Honor Society … full name is Makenna Wright Pearsall … born in Greenwich, Connecticut to Steve and Karen Pearsall … father, Steve, played lacrosse at Notre Dame where he served as captain in 1984 … sister, Casey, currently plays lacrosse at Notre Dame.
Hannah Proctor * Defense * 5-5 * Radnor, Pa. / Radnor
Graduated from Radnor High School in the Spring of 2015 … lettered all four years in lacrosse and three in soccer … lacrosse team state semifinals her freshman and senior years and state finals her sophomore year … team ranked ninth nationally as a senior … member of the USA Under-19 national team… named a US Lacrosse All-American and All-Academic team member during her junior and senior years … named an Under Armour All-American as a senior … named to the All-Deco and All-Southeastern PA first teams after her junior and senior seasons … named to the All-Central League First Team as a junior and senior … received the Radnor Lacrosse’s Sally Wilson Most Outstanding Player Award as both a junior and senior … served as captain of the lacrosse team her junior and senior years … honored as MVP of the Central League her senior year … named to the Pansini Law Group Scholar-Athlete Honor List during her senior year … named to the All-PhillyLacrosse.com first team and All-Main Line first team her junior year … winner of the Radnor Lacrosse’s Coaches Award when she was a sophomore … invited to Nike’s The Ride and played in the Nike Elite 120 as a sophomore … received All-Central League and All-Main Line honorable mentions her sophomore season …… named Radnor High School’s Freshman Female Athlete of the Year … recipient of the Pixie Hamilton Effort Award … winner of Radnor High School’s Marge McCone Award for leadership … ended her high school career with 103 goals, 39 assists, 156 ground balls, 193 draw controls and 57 caused turnovers … played on the Phantastix 2015 Purple Lacrosse club team … made the honor roll every year of high school … full name Hannah Haviland Proctor … born in Radnor, Pennsylvania to David and Elizabeth Proctor … father played squash at Pennsylvania.