May 23, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Cortney Fortunato came to Notre Dame last summer considered the top recruit in America and she is ending her freshman campaign as the best freshman in America as she was named WomensLax.com's Rookie of the Year on Friday morning. Both Fortunato and Irish teammate Margaret Smith were both named to WomensLax.com's 25-member All-American team as well.
Notre Dame is one of just six programs with at least two players selected for the WomensLax.com All-America team, joining Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina, Northwestern and Syracuse.
Fortunato topped Notre Dame in scoring as a freshman, posting team-highs with her 46 goals, 17 assists and 63 points. It was the second-highest point total ever for a Notre Dame freshman, eclipsed only by Byers' 78 in 2006.
Despite facing a steady stream of defenses designed specifically to stop her while playing against the nation's second-toughest schedule, Fortunato recorded nine hat tricks in 2014. She also led the Irish with four game-winning goals this past spring. Fortunato showed that she wasn't just a scorer by also getting 22 ground balls and 16 draw controls along with nine caused turnovers.
Smith, named a first-team All-American by the IWLCA earlier this week, led the ACC in both ground balls and caused turnovers this spring. The lone regular senior starter for the Irish in 2014, leading a young team as a captain, Smith is also amongst the national leaders in those key defensive statistical categories, ranking seventh in ground balls and ninth in caused turnovers entering this weekend's national semifinals.
Smith's 64 ground balls this year broke Holly Manthei's school record of 63 set in 1998. She also set the school's career caused turnover record with 122. Particularly crucial on draw controls after losing Sullivan to injury, Smith led Notre Dame with her 47 draw controls this spring. Smith's 168 career ground balls rank third amongst all active players nationally.