Feb. 16, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
If defense truly does win championships as the saying goes, Notre Dame women’s lacrosse knows it claims the country’s best in Barbara Sullivan. The two-time first-team All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist added to her accomplishment list on Tuesday by being named the Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week.
Sullivan’s defensive work, including a school-record-tying seven caused turnovers, allowed the No. 8 Irish to withstand an early flurry and eventually turn back No. 15 Stanford, 13-9, on Saturday afternoon.
Sullivan also added a game-high six draw controls and three ground balls to the Notre Dame cause as the Irish improved to 2-0 on the young season while avenging a loss to the Cardinal last spring.
“That’s just Barbara doing what Barbara does,” head coach Christine Halfpenny told Lacrosse Magazine after the game about her team captain for the past three years. “It’s synonymous with our brand. We fight, we’re aggressive, we’re fast, we’re passionate. Barbara was so passionate today, and we were so thrilled that she got her fifth year here.”
The seven caused turnovers matched Shaylyn Blaney’s sum on April 17, 2010, against Cincinnati for the school record. The seven also gave Sullivan 113 career caused turnovers, moving her into a tie for third place in school history with Blaney, nine behind of Margaret Smith’s school-record total of 122 compiled from 2011-14. Sullivan already holds Notre Dame’s career record with 215 draw controls and stands fifth in Irish lore with her 144 career ground balls.
The ACC opener is up next for Sullivan and the Irish as Notre Dame welcomes No. 9 Boston College to the Loftus Sports Center at noon on Sunday.
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 women’s lacrosse team 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.