April 22, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The women’s lacrosse coaches of the Atlantic Coast Conference recognized the brightest stars of the nation’s top league on Wednesday, including a pair of Notre Dame student-athletes. The ACC’s leader in caused turnovers, defender Barbara Sullivan earned a spot on the all-conference first-team while the league’s leading goal and point scorer, Irish attacker Cortney Fortunato, was voted to a space on the all-conference second team.
A first-team All-America selection in 2013, Sullivan missed nearly all of the 2014 season with a back injury but has rounded back to her old form as a senior in 2015. Sullivan’s 28 caused turnovers top the ACC, a category where each of the top four dress for Notre Dame which employs a particularly aggressive defensive system. Sullivan is tied with teammate Alex Dalton for fourth in the ACC with 34 ground balls. With her tall stature and leaping ability, Sullivan has been a crucial link on draw controls. Sullivan has 64 on the season to date, just three shy of matching her school record of 67 set in 2013. She peaked with nine on April 4 in a 14-4 win at No. 4 Virginia, matching her own single game school record.
With Sullivan often marking the opponent’s top attacker, the Irish are third in the ACC with a 9.13 team goals against average.
Fortunato tops all ACC players with both her 54 goals and 70 points on the year, ranking her sixth nationally in each category. Additionally, although patrolling just two thirds of the field as an attacker, Fortunato is second to Sullivan in the entire ACC with her 27 caused turnovers.
The sophomore has exceeded her goal and point scoring totals from a freshman season where she was named both an All-American and the co-rookie of the year nationally. Fortunato has a hat trick in 10 of Notre Dame’s 16 games this season. She fell one goal shy of a school record with her eight in a win over Virginia Tech on March 14 and tied a school record by scoring six goals in one half (the second) of Notre Dame’s 21-12 win over Michigan on April 12.
The Irish, ranked No. 11 in the nation, hold the fifth seed for the ACC championship and will open play at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday against fourth-seeded Virginia at the Cavaliers’ KlÃƒÆ’Â¶ckner Stadium in Charlottesville. The game will be broadcast live by the ACC Network and also streamed online by ESPN3.