Aug. 24, 2016
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program welcomed 11 freshmen to their roster this week, including two Under Armour All-Americans.
The class of 2020 features seven midfielders, two attackers, one defender and one goalkeeper, bringing the updated roster to 30 student-athletes. This marks the largest incoming freshman class since 11 freshmen signed on with the Irish prior to the 2013 season.
“We are thrilled to announce our freshman class,” head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “When we were recruiting the 2016 class, we knew that we had many needs for our team. We just graduated a large class that filled many on-field roles as well as huge leadership positions on the team. Each of the 11 incoming student-athletes are strong individuals that are goal-orientated, driven and hard-working young women. Individually, they bring depth and talent to each position from attack to the goalkeeper position.
“They are also champions. They have played for and won state championships and know what it takes to win."
The freshman class is highlighted by two Under Armour All-Americans, Jessica Masinko and Savannah Buchanan. Masinko, who played attack at Milton High School (Roswell, Ga.), is a three-time Georgia State Champion and Under Armour South team member. Masinko led Milton in goals (72), assists (32) and draw controls (57) her senior season. Buchanan, a graduate of McDonogh High School (Baltimore, Md.) and The Baltimore Sun’s Female High School Athlete of the Year, scored 43 goals and collected 24 assists as a senior. She led her team to its eighth consecutive championship and 155th consecutive win to conclude her senior year.
The 11 freshmen hail from seven different states, including four student-athletes from Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina, all of which were not previously represented on the roster.
“It's exciting to see how many different states this class represents. Very similar to the national footprint that our University represents,” Halfpenny said. “Bringing top players in from Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, New York, and North Carolina will give this class a dynamic look. While each region may play a unique style of lacrosse, we are excited that all of the players bring their own version of our fast, aggressive, passionate and together brand.”
The team’s eight seniors will look to fill the leadership role of last year’s graduating class, a group that led the team to a 4-3 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a 14-7 overall record in 2016.
“Our team and coaching staff can't wait to start working with each new member of the team,” Halfpenny said.
Women’s Lacrosse Freshmen Bios
Sydney Anderson - Durham, N.C. - Cardinal Gibbons
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated Cum Laude from Cardinal Gibbons High School in the spring of 2016 … lettered all four years in both lacrosse and field hockey … started as a freshman in lacrosse and field hockey … was named to the North Carolina Tournament Team freshman and sophomore year … was a Brine All-American as a sophomore … was a state runner-up and named to the Under Armour Underclassman All-America Tournament South Team as a junior … during her junior and senior season she joined the first team all-conference … also was chosen as a US Lacrosse Academic All-American as a junior and senior … named team captain at the beginning of her senior season and led the team to a North Carolina state championship ... named first team all-state … played for the Carolina Fever … was president of the Dance Club at Cardinal Gibbons … born in Durham, N.C. to David and Cheryl Anderson … full name is Sydney Gabrielle Anderson … intends to major in marketing.
Cecilia Biagini - Chevy Chase, Md. - Georgetown Visitation
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Georgetown Visitation in May of 2016 … lettered in lacrosse for three years and soccer for one year … served as JV captain for lacrosse and soccer as a freshman … was JV soccer champion during her freshman year … was a JV lacrosse finalist the same year … joined the varsity lacrosse team as a starter her sophomore year … scored 11 goals and recorded seven assists … selected for the DC Metro Team and Elite 120 … selected for Nike’s “The Ride” but did not play due to an ACL injury … also was named a starter prior to her junior and senior seasons … chosen as the varsity lacrosse captain her senior season … racked up 27 goals, 21 assists and 19 ground balls … was an All-Met Honorable Mention … mentioned and pictured in Inside Lacrosse magazine as Top Incoming College Freshman … Selected for Inside Lacrosse Committed Team … was part of the Rebels 2016 Black Lacrosse team alongside Irish teammate Madison Carr … served as counselor in Jamaica for Lacrosse Volunteer Corps … was a counselor at Rosemary Hills Lacrosse Camp … up until the age of 12 she was model/actor and was featured in several magazines and print ads … full name is Cecilia Marie Biagini … born in Washington, D.C., to Raymond and Celeste Biagini … her dad Ray Biagini graduated from Notre Dame in 1976 and received his J.D. from the university in 1979 … has three older brothers: Nick, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2011; Johnny, who will gradate from Notre Dame in 2020; and Anthony, who plays men’s lacrosse at Mitchell College.
Savannah Buchanan - Baltimore, Md. - McDonogh
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from McDonogh in June of 2016 … Lettered all four years in lacrosse, soccer, and basketball … won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland Championship in lacrosse all four seasons … the lacrosse team was ranked No. 1 nationally all four years … Under Armour Underclass champion with Team Baltimore during her sophomore and junior seasons … named to the Baltimore Sun second team All-Metro during her junior season … named a USA Today Third Team Pre-Season All-American and US Lacrosse Honorable Mention All-American her junior season … also named to the Under Armour All-Tournament Team her junior year … won the IAAM Championship in both soccer and basketball as a junior … the soccer team was ranked No. 1 nationally her junior and senior years … scored 43 goals and totaled 24 assists her senior season … named a USA Today First Team Pre-Season All-American … named The Baltimore Sun’s Female High School Athlete of the Year … joined the all-conference team … received USA Today First Team All-American and Under Armour All-American honors as a senior … named Baltimore Sun Athlete of the Year in basketball her senior year … the lacrosse team won its eighth consecutive championship and 155th consecutive game to conclude her senior year … member of the TLC Lacrosse Club … was a leader of “Support Our Troops” and a volunteer at Kennedy Krieger’s program for disabled youth … made the Dean’s list all four years of high school … full name is Savannah Nicole Buchanan … born to Philip and Donna Buchanan in Towson, Md. … she joins former McDonogh teammates Grace Muller and Hannah Rees.
Madison Carr - Rockville, Md. - Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in the spring of 2016 … lettered all four years in soccer, basketball and lacrosse … was an honorable mention by the All-Star Gazette her freshman year … placed third in the Independent Schools League during her freshman and senior seasons … named to the Schoolgirl’s National Tournament DC Metro Team 4 as a freshman … named to the All ISL Lacrosse Team as a sophomore, junior and senior … was a Washington Post All-Met Honorable mention as a junior and senior … named Second Team All-Star Gazette as a sophomore … was part of the Schoolgirl’s National Tournament DC Metro Team Three her sophomore season … named First Team All-Gazette as a junior… led the team in goals her junior year … named to the Schoolgirls National Tournament DC Metro Team One her junior season … named varsity MVP at the conclusion of her junior and senior seasons … named varsity team captain her senior year … named First Team All-ISL … led the team in goals, assists, draw controls and ground balls … chosen as Bethesda Magazine’s Player of the Year Honorable Mention … played for the Rebels 2016 Black Lacrosse Team with Irish teammate Cecilia Biagini … served as a volunteer coach for Winners Lacrosse Program … volunteered at Bright Beginnings Daycare for Homeless Children … was a member of Girl Up International and Best Buddies International … born in Rockville, Md., to Chuck and Stacy Carr … full name is Madison Taylor Carr.
Kelly Donnelly - Indianapolis, Ind. - Cathedral High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Cathedral High School in the spring of 2016 … lettered all four years in lacrosse and one year in soccer … chosen for the 2013 Elite 120 as a freshman … named to the 2013 Maverick Showtime All-Star Team … joined the Rising Indiana All-Star team in 2013 … named Indiana All-State her sophomore, junior and senior seasons … won an award as the top athlete at Nike, “The Ride” Lacrosse camp and recorded the highest SPARQ score in girl’s lacrosse as a sophomore … racked 61 goals and 23 assists her junior season … named an Under Armour All-American and Brine All-American as a junior … was a 2015 Academic All-American as well as an All-American Honorable Mention … was part of the Indiana girl’s state championship team her junior season … chosen as team captain at the beginning of her senior season … snagged 84 goals and 25 assists … led the team in goals and points scored … state runner-up her senior season … member of Indy United lacrosse club team … received four years of High Honors and was part of National Honor Society… volunteered with Girls on the Run and Habitat for Humanity… participated in the YMCA’s Blue Ridge service trip … born in Clearwater, Fla., to Joseph and Lynn Donnelly … full name is Kelly Lorraine Donnelly … mother, Lynn Donnelly, ran track and was a junior college All-American at Nassau College … brother, Colin Donnelly, played three years of club lacrosse at Indiana University and one year at the University of Tampa.
Cassandra Ford - Summit, N.J. - Oak Knoll School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Oak Knoll School in May of 2016 … lettered all four years in lacrosse and once in soccer and basketball … started on the varsity roster as a freshman … was the recipient of the Outstanding First Year Player award for soccer in the fall of 2012 and in the spring of 2013 for lacrosse … helped lead the lacrosse team to the New Jersey Prep State Championship in 2013, 2015 and 2016 … also helped lead the team to a New Jersey Group 1 State Championship in 2013, 2015 and 2016 ... was a member of the New Jersey Under Armour underclassmen lacrosse team in 2013 and 2015 … was the recipient of Most Improved Player on the varsity basketball team her sophomore year … started seven lacrosse games before a season-ending ACL tear her sophomore year … returned from the ACL tear her junior season and helped lead the team to a 2015 New Jersey Group 1 state championship … scored 79 goals and had 31 assists … earned US Lacrosse High School All-American honors as a junior … was also selected New Jersey All-State third team … snagged 80 goals, 35 assists and 110 points … selected as a first team all-league, all-conference, and All-American as a senior … named team captain prior to her senior year … honored as the Oak Knoll School Athlete of the Year at the conclusion of her senior season … led her team to the Tournament of Champions in 2013, 2015 and 2016 … led the team in every statistical category as a senior … member of the STEPS Elite ’16 team, which medaled at the U15 National Club Championships in Orlando, Fla. … was a mentor/coach for New Jersey’s Special Olympics track/field program … was the recipient of the Oak Knoll School Bridget Gibbons Award which is given to the one junior who exemplifies character, leadership and dedication … volunteered at The Food Bank of New Jersey … full name is Cassandra Ellen Ford … born in Summit, N.J., to Steven and Amanda Ford … father was the captain of the football team at Middlebury College in Vermont … brother played lacrosse at Middlebury College in Vermont … sister played lacrosse at the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
Jessica Masinko - Roswell, Ga. - Milton High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Milton High School in the spring of 2016 … lettered in varsity lacrosse all four years … was a three-time state champion and three-time Under Armour South team member … was named to the Georgia High School First Team All-State three times and was named to the National Tournament Georgia Team 1 as a freshman … was an Elite 120 team member and helped lead her team to a tournament championship … led the team to a national ranking in the top 10 her freshman season … lead the team in goals, assists and interceptions her sophomore year ... was a High School All-American Honorable Mention … named a High School All-American her junior season … named Lax Magazine South Player of the Week April 13th, 2015 … chosen as co-captain prior to her senior season… led the team in goals (72), assists (32), and draw controls (57) her senior season … chosen as a member of the USA Today Second Team All-USA as a senior … named Georgia High School AAAAAA Player of the Year … chosen as the Lacrosse Magazine South Player of the Week twice during her senior season … named a 2016 Under Armour All-American … selected as a 2015 US Lacrosse High School All-American … was a member of the Eagle Stix club team alongside current Irish teammate Erin McBride … made the honor roll all four years of high school … was a three-time Milton Scholar Athlete … full name is Jessica Susan Masinko … born in Atlanta, Ga., to John and Pam Masinko … mother played basketball under current Irish head coach Muffet McGraw as well as lacrosse at Lehigh University.
Erin McBride - Marietta, Ga. - George Walton Comprehensive High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from George Walton Comprehensive High School … lettered in lacrosse all four years of high school … was named First Team All-State all four years … chosen to be part of the All-County Team all four years … snagged 88 goals, 12 assists and 36 ground balls during her freshman season … named Nike/ US Lacrosse south region top performers … was named Milton High School offensive player of the year at the conclusion of her freshman and sophomore seasons … snagged 94 goals, 21 assists, and 98 ground balls as a sophomore … named a US Lacrosse First Team All-American three years in a row … chosen as Lacrosse Magazine’s player of the week on April 29, 2014 … named Cobb County Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Year her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons … was a member of the 2014 State Championship runner-up team as a sophomore and junior … chosen as the Atlanta Journal Constitution High School Athlete of the Year for girls lacrosse her junior and senior years … honored as the Walton High School Midfielder of the Year … chosen as the Lacrosse Magazine South Player of the Week on March 3, 2015 … added to the US Lacrosse Girls High School Academic List as a junior and senior … recorded 61 goals, 20 assists and 55 ground balls her senior season … named Lacrosse Magazine’s South Player of the Year … rounded out her high school lacrosse career with a state championship in 2016 … played club lacrosse for the Eagle Stix alongside current Irish teammate Jessica Masinko … was a member of the National Honor Society … was an Atlanta Children’s Charity member for three years … received the AP Scholar with Honor Award … full name is Erin Katherine McBride … born in Atlanta, Ga., to Mark and Mary Kay McBride … former Irish swimmer Jess Eaton also attended Walton High School.
Kathleen Roe - Denver, Colo. - Regis Jesuit High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in the spring of 2016 … lettered all four years in lacrosse and three years in field hockey … was a Nike “The Ride” participant … chosen as first team all-league four times and named second team all-state as a freshman … played for Colorado National Team her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons … named first team all-state three times … named league Player of the Year her junior season … chosen for the Academic All-State first team her junior and senior seasons … honored as an All-American her senior year … played for the Team 180 Lacrosse club team, which won the championship from 2012-2014 … named Sandstorm Tournament Team 180 MVP … maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her high school career … was a member of the National Charity League … born in Denver, Colo., to Steve and Brigid Roe … full name is Kathleen Donohue Roe … mother and father graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1990 … brother is attending Notre Dame and is expected to graduate in 2019.
Haley Schultz - Burnt Hills, N.Y. - Ballston Lake High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Ballston Lake High School in June of 2016 … earned six letters in lacrosse, three in soccer and two in basketball … recorded 14 goals, six assists and 20 ground balls her freshman season … helped lead the team to a Section 2 soccer championship as a freshman, sophomore and junior … snagged 19 goals, nine assists and 32 ground balls as a sophomore … received the Un-Sung Hero Award … was named captain prior to her junior year and remained captain as a senior … collected 30 goals, eight assists, and 36 ground balls as a junior … received Academic and Lacrosse All-American honorable mention honors her junior year … added to the Under Armour Upstate Team … finished her high school career with 44 goals, eight assists and 21 ground balls as a senior … holds the Ballston High school record for most goals in a single game with eight goals … chosen for the Lacrosse All-American first team … was a member of the Capital Women’s Lacrosse Project … played for the Albany Power club team as well as LDK Lacrosse … coached and refereed for Spartan Junior Lacrosse games … was a member of the National Honor Society and a senator for the Ballston Lake High School Student Government … was a member of the Diversity Club … received a Merit Diploma … born in Schenecady, N.Y., to Richard and Kathleen Schultz … full name is Haley Elizabeth Schultz … her brother played football at the University of Albany.
Grace Steffens - Chestertown, Md. - Queen Anne’s County High School
PREP and PERSONAL: Graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School in June of 2016 … lettered in swimming four times, lacrosse three times and field hockey twice … carried the lacrosse team to the state finals as a junior and reached the semifinals as a sophomore and senior … led the swimming team to states all four years … was a member of the TLC Lacrosse team … named valedictorian of her high school class … born in Chestertown, Md., to Walt and Maddie Steffens … full name is Grace Kathleen Steffens … father was a wrestler at UMBC and mother played volleyball at Longwood … brother, Matthew, played lacrosse for the United States Naval Academy … has two sisters, Corey and Allison … intends to major in English.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2016 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse, cross country and track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions with Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.