Feb. 12, 2014
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The much-anticipated collegiate debut of three-time high school All-American Cortney Fortunato for the No. 11 Notre Dame women's lacrosse team couldn't have gone much better as the freshman netted a hat trick just 5:21 into the contest helping the Fighting Irish (1-0) set a school record by scoring 25 times in a 25-1 win over Cincinnati (0-1) on Wednesday at the Loftus Sports Center.
Notre Dame's 25 goals tonight tied for the most scored by any team in the nation since Florida beat Fresno State 29-0 on March 28, 2012. It ties for the most goals scored by an ACC school since at least the 2009 season.
Notre Dame's nine free position goals (on 12 attempts) are the team's most since at least 2004, eclipsing the eight tallied against Loyola on March 29, 2009.
Fortunato topped all scorers with seven points in the contest (four goals and three assists) while also controlling four draws and gathering a pair of ground balls. Rachel Sexton also chipped in four goals and freshman Grace Muller netted a hat trick in her collegiate debut for a Notre Dame team that established a school record for victory margin at 24. Caitlin Gargan picked up five points (two goals and three assists) while goalkeeper Allie Murray needed to make just two saves over the game's first 54:15 to earn the win. The Fighting Irish outshot the Bearcats 40-3 on the night.
Fortunato scored each of the game's first two goals and completed her hat trick at the 24:39 mark off of a feed from Brie Custis that gave the Irish a 5-0 edge. Kiera McMullan scored once and Caitlin Gargan tallied twice all before the game was 10 minutes old, putting Notre Dame on top 8-0. Sexton's second goal, followed by Michele Phillips' first collegiate goal, would give the Irish a 10-0 advantage at the 16:48 mark and start the running clock.
Muller scored all three of her goals in the first half's final 12:19 and Custis added a goal during that run as well to put Notre Dame up 14-0 at intermission.
Five different Notre Dame players scored the team's first five second half goals, capping the run with a Fortunato strike with 21:27 to play that put Notre Dame on top 19-0. Sexton followed with her fourth of the contest at 18:10 to break the 20-goal plateau for the team. Notre Dame eclipsed the previous school record for goals of 23 when Stephanie Toy netted her second score of the night with 8:45 to play, giving Notre Dame a 24-0 edge. Heidi Annaheim capped the Irish scoring with her first collegiate goal on a free position shot as 5:45 remained in the contest. Notre Dame was denied the second shutout in school history when Megan Bell scored for the Bearcats with just 46 seconds left in the game.
The Fighting Irish will make their ACC debut on Saturday when they play host to No. 20 Boston College at the Loftus Sports Center at 1:00 p.m.