May 18, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
The No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team is playing in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday so, fittingly, a quarter of the team’s starting lineup earned IWLCA All-American accolades on Wednesday.
Cortney Fortunato and Barbara Sullivan were both named to the All-America first team while Casey Pearsall earned a spot on the All-America third team. It is Sullivan’s third first-team All-America honor, joining the 2013 and 2015 seasons. Fortunato was also a first-team All-American last year after making the third team as a freshman in 2014. Pearsall appears on the third team for the second year in a row.
The repeat ACC Defensive Player of the Year and now a two-time Tewaaraton Award finalist, Sullivan will go into the history books as one of the top defensive players the women’s college game has ever known. Sullivan holds Notre Dame’s single-game, single-season and career records for both caused turnovers and draw controls. Just the ninth three-year team captain of any sport at Notre Dame, Sullivan leads the ACC in caused turnovers this spring while also ranking third in ground balls and fifth in draw controls.
Fortunato leads the ACC in goals and points while ranking fourth in assists. Fortunato has recorded a hat trick in 13 of Notre Dame’s 20 games this year with the Irish posting a 12-1 record in those contests. In addition to being one of the nation’s elite scorers, she has also shown a remarkable ability to exert defensive pressure at the top of Notre Dame’s ride. Fortunato ranks fifth in the ACC causing 1.55 turnovers per game.
Pearsall has produced another robust and versatile stat line has she prowls all three zones. Offensively, she boasts 30 goals and 22 assists for 52 points. She has produced this scoring while causing 22 turnovers, controlling 41 draws and scooping up 27 ground balls.
The Irish return to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday when they travel to face No. 3 North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals at Fetzer Field. ESPN3 will have a live webstream of the contest.
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.