Inside Lacrosse Ranks Irish Recruiting Among Tops In Country
August 22, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Inside Lacrosse magazine dished out high praise to the University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program recently as it ranked Notre Dame’s incoming class No. 5 in the country after three Irish newcomers earned top-25 rankings in the magazine’s rising freshmen list.
Topping the list is three-time high school All-American and No. 1 overall recruit Cortney Fortunato (Northport, N.Y.). The magazine has reaped praise on Fortunato for the better part of three years now as she dominated the high school competition as she scored 388 goals and dished out 171 assists for 559 points. The attacker earned game MVP honors at the Under Armour Senior All-American game back in July to close out her high school career.
“Cortney and I have been talking about how exciting it is that the beginning of her career also matches the beginning of Notre Dame’s presence in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” said head coach Christine Halfpenny. “I know she has been looking forward to this new challenge of transitioning her game to the collegiate level. Her goal has been to play at the highest level and she is incredibly self-motivated to continue to improve her game and prove herself amongst her peers. Coming to Notre Dame will be no different. She has been preparing for this for a long time.”
Since the magazine began ranking incoming freshmen in 2006, Fortunato is the second Irish commit to receive the No. 1 spot, joining former Irish great Shaylyn Blaney in 2007. Notre Dame is the only school in the country to have two players earn the magazine’s top honor.
Joining Fortunato on the list were No. 22 Casey Pearsall (Wilton, Conn.) and No. 25 Alexandra Dalton (Needham, Mass.). Teammate Heidi Annaheim (Kinnelon, N.J.) also earned recognition as she was placed on the watch list.
“I think these honors are a true testament to the hard work all of our incoming student-athletes put in during their high school careers,” said Halfpenny. “I couldn’t be more pleased that Notre Dame is the right fit academically, athletically and socially.”
All four standouts join an Irish squad that is moving to the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2014 season. Notre Dame’s No. 5 ranking would have placed them No. 1 in its old conference - the BIG EAST, but puts it No. 4 in the ACC behind defending national champion North Carolina (No. 1), national runner-up Maryland (No. 2) and NCAA Championship qualifier Virginia (No. 3). Florida brings up the No. 4 spot followed by the Irish. Notre Dame finished ahead of ACC foe Duke (No. 6) and common opponents Vanderbilt (No. 8) and Stanford (No. 9).
Since the magazine began ranking classes in 2005, Notre Dame has been in the top 10 five times. These include a No. 1 ranking in 2005 followed by No. 4 in 2007, No. 4 in 2010, No. 7 in 2012 and No. 5 this year.
“It is quite incredible to be ranked fifth in the country, but only fourth in the ACC,” said Halfpenny. “The rankings show the caliber of competition we are heading into and this is just another gauge that shows what a great fit we are with the ACC. Without a doubt this move to the ACC will keep us incredibly competitive on the recruiting trail.”
Notre Dame was one of just four schools that had three or more representatives on the top 25 rising freshmen list, ranking behind North Carolina and Virginia, who had four each, and tying Maryland.
“It’s great to be recognized as having one of the top recruiting classes in the country at the beginning of the season,” said Halfpenny. “However, I’m more interested in developing this group of new comers and returners to be one of the best teams in the country at the end of the season. I’m excited for these 10 to get to campus and integrate with the veterans to start working towards our goals for the 2014 season.”
Inside Lacrosse Top 10 Recruiting Classes
1. North Carolina? 2. Maryland? 3. Virginia? 4. Florida? 5. Notre Dame? 6. Duke? 7. Harvard? 8. Vanderbilt? 9. Stanford? 10. USC