Feb. 1, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Inside Lacrosse revealed its preseason All-America team on Tuesday, and four Irish women’s lacrosse players received All-American recognition. Senior attack Cortney Fortunato and senior midfielder Casey Pearsall were selected to the first team, while senior midfielder Alex Dalton and sophomore goalie Samantha Giacolone received honorable mentions.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 in Tuesday’s Inside Lacrosse/Cascade preseason poll, matching its position in the IWLCA preseason poll that was released on Monday.
North Carolina (No. 1), Syracuse (No. 6) and the Irish lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in the poll, which also includes Duke (No. 10), Virginia (No. 13) and Boston College (No. 17).
Fortunato spoke very highly of her fellow teammates selected to the All-America team.
“I am so happy for my teammates, Casey, Alex and Sam, for being selected as preseason All-Americans,” Fortunato said. “All three are amazing teammates and players who are incredibly deserving of such recognition. Being named a preseason All-American obviously means that these players are being recognized for having an outstanding season last year, and it is anticipated that they will continue to perform at an extremely high level this year and help our team achieve our goals.”
Fortunato, who competed with the U.S. Training Team for the past few months, is a two-time Tewaaraton Award Nominee and a three-time All-American. She led the team in points (91), goals (64) and assists (27) in 2016 and ranks second all-time in career goals (166) and fourth in career points (230).
Pearsall, a two-time All-American, is coming off of a season in which she recorded 52 points, 42 draw controls, 30 goals and 22 assists. A Wilton, Connecticut, native, Pearsall owns 122 career draw controls, which rank seventh in program history.
Dalton, who hails from Needham, Massachusetts, received All-America honors in 2015 and All-Region recognition last season. She collected 32 draw controls and 27 ground balls and scored 16 goals last season.
Giacolone makes her first career appearance on the preseason All-American team after being selected to the Inside Lacrosse All-Rookie Team last spring. A Manorville, New York, native, Giacolone’s 7.97 goals against average in 2016 was the second-lowest mark in a single season in program history. Her 14 wins as goalkeeper last season ranks third all-time.
“I am extremely fortunate to have teammates and individual players like them to be able to play alongside,” Fortunato said. “Casey, Alex and Sam all work very hard on and off the field to be able to put our team in the best position to be as successful as possible, so I’m glad their hard work has earned them this well-deserved recognition. I am very grateful for them because they are three teammates that definitely push me to be a better player as I get the opportunity to play both with and against them every day.
“The fact that we have four preseason All-Americans on our team this season speaks to not only the season we had last year, but more importantly, the talented teammates we have to push the four of us being recognized each and every day in practice.”
2017 Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Team
Cortney Fortunato, Sr., A, Notre Dame
Maggie Bill, Jr., M, North Carolina
Maddie Crutchfield, Jr., M, Duke
Marie McCool, Jr., M, North Carolina
Casey Pearsall, Sr., M, Notre Dame
Maggie Auslander, Sr., D, North Carolina
Caylee Waters, Sr., G, North Carolina
Molly Hendrick, Sr., A, North Carolina
Nicole Levy, So., A, Syracuse
Sammy Jo Tracy, Sr., A, North Carolina
Isabelle Montagne, Sr., D, Duke
Maggie Preas, Sr., D, Virginia
Maura Schwitter, Sr., D, Duke
Kenzie Kent, Jr., A, Boston College
Taylor Gait, R-Jr., M, Syracuse
Stephanie McNamara, Sr., D, Louisville
Kaeli O’Connor, Sr., D, Syracuse
Rachel Vander Kolk, Jr., G, Virginia
Riley Donahue, Jr., A, Syracuse
Krya Harney, Jr., A, Duke
Ela Hazar, Jr., A, North Carolina
Sam Apuzzo, So., M, Boston College
Alex Dalton, Sr., M/D, Notre Dame
Kaitlin Luzik, So., D, Virginia
Alexa Radziewicz, So., D, Syracuse
Michelle Staggers, So., D, Duke
Samantha Giacolone, So., G, Notre Dame
Brittany Reed, Jr., G, Louisville
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.