Feb. 13, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The No. 8 University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team will play its third game in five days when it hosts Marquette on Tuesday night at Loftus Sports Center.
The Irish will enjoy home-field advantage for the fourth consecutive game and the final contest before travelling to take on Michigan in their first road game of the regular season. Notre Dame is 17-6 in its last 23 home games, dating back to the start of the 2015 season.
“We have really focused on ourselves, whether it’s physically or mentally,” Irish junior Molly Cobb said. “Mentally, we’ve been able to focus on the things we need to improve on from the last game and implement them into the next game. Physically, three games in five days is tough, but we’re fortunate enough to have a lot of resources to recover within our down time.”
The Irish own a 4-0 record all-time against Marquette, including a 2-0 record against the Golden Eagles at home.
Notre Dame and Marquette last played on March 28, 2016 at Marquette, where the Irish came away victoriously with a 17-9 win. Nikki Ortega and Grace Muller scored three goals in the Irish victory.
“Marquette always comes out fast against us,” Cobb said. “They’re competitive and fun to play against. We’ve seen a zone defense the past two games, so hopefully, we can use that to our benefit when we see their zone.”
If Cort Gets Three, Irish Find Glee
In her career, Fortunato has 34 hat tricks, and the Irish have compiled a 28-6 record in those contests. Notre Dame is just 9-20 in games in which Fortunato is limited to two goals or fewer.
Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said she has noticed Fortunato is gaining confidence and playing with a sense of urgency in her final season.
“Cortney’s just a player that always wants to better her game,” Halfpenny said. “She works so hard but has this relaxed intensity about her. I’ve seen her improve with how to handle space to cut into, how to be more patient with her shot.
“Over the last month, I’ve seen her really, really gain some confidence the times she does have a finish on her shot. It’s been really fun watching her play a middie in our ride, in our press.”
Notre Dame competed in games on back-to-back days for just the second time since 2003, defeating Liberty, 18-2, on Friday, and topping Detroit Mercy, 24-9, on Saturday.
Fortunato came one goal shy of matching her career-high eight, and Ortega set a career high with five assists and six points. Ortega’s five assists in a single game were one short of the program record. Only two Irish players have recorded six assists, including Maggie Tamasitis (three times; most recently on April 28, 2012, vs. Cincinnati) and Gina Scioscia (once).
On Saturday, the Irish tied the program record with 22 draw controls in the game. Savannah Buchanan tied the individual game record with nine draw controls and now shares the record with Casey Pearsall, Kaki Orr and Barbara Sullivan (twice). Fortunato tallied a career-high 10 points, including six goals and four assists. She totaled 17 points on the weekend with 13 goals and four assists.
Irish Fighting for a Cause
Join the Irish and the One Love Foundation in promoting their domestic violence prevention initiative by using #thatslove on social media throughout the entire month of February. Share simple acts of love on Twitter, and be sure to include #thatslove and tag @NDWomensLax.
On Tuesday, Notre Dame will tweet an act of love -- expressed by individual team members -- following each goal scored. Follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter for more.
Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN. For a closer, behind-the-scenes look, follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter.
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.