April 26, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
Inside Lacrosse Magazine on Tuesday named Notre Dame freshman goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone as its National Rookie of the Week. Giacolone backstopped an Irish defense that held both No. 5 USC and No. 15 Ohio State to single-digit goal totals this past week.
Against USC, that nation's leader in scoring offense, Giacolone stopped nine of the Trojans' 14 shots on goal (64.3%) in holding the Women of Troy to comfortably their lowest scoring output of their undefeated season to date. She also tied for the Irish team lead against USC by scooping up three ground balls.
At Ohio State, Giacolone made eight more saves as Notre Dame picked up a 17-9 win at Ohio Stadium. She also caused three Buckeye turnovers on intercepted or deflected passes around the net and collected two ground balls.
A Manorville, New York native, Giacolone's efforts this week lowered her goals against average to 7.94, the second-lowest in school history. Her 12 wins in net tie for fourth in school history for a single season and are the most since Ellie Hilling also had 12 in 2012. The USC game marked the seventh time in 2016 that Notre Dame has held an opponent to five goals or less, establishing a school record. With the combination of this stout defense and a prolific offense, Notre Dame is seventh nationally and first in the ACC in scoring margin, outscoring its foes by an average of 6.35 goals per game while also facing one of the country's toughest schedules.
It is the second week in a row in which a Notre Dame player has received national honors. Rachel Sexton was the IWLCA's National Player of the Week last week after a Senior Day hat trick which included the overtime game-winning goal against Duke. Earlier this year, Barbara Sullivan was named Lacrosse Magazine's National Player of the Week on Feb. 16 for her role in an Irish win over then-No. 15 Stanford when she tied a school record by causing seven turnovers against the Cardinal while also controlling six draws and gathering three ground balls in a 13-9 Notre Dame victory.
Ranked No. 6 in the latest edition of the NCAA's official RPI, released Tuesday morning, Notre Dame heads to the ACC Championship this weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia, holding the No. 3 seed. The Irish will open play in the quarterfinals against No. 6-seeded Louisville at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Notre Dame will be looking for revenge after dropping a 10-9 overtime decision to the Cardinals on March 5 in Louisville in one of the season's more exciting contests.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team while serving as the football publicity team's top lieutenant. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.