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Two Greatest Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse Players Are Now Teammates

Jillian Byers and Cortney Fortunato have the Long Island Storm off to a 2-0 start.

Cortney Fortunato
Andy Mead

Jill Byers and Cortney Fortunato are the two most decorated women’s lacrosse players ever to wear a Notre Dame uniform. This summer, the Northport, N.Y. natives are both sporting Long Island Sound uniforms — and helping the United Women’s Lacrosse League champions remain unbeaten.

Byers, who is the Irish’s all-time leader in goals, is an assistant coach on the team while Fortunato, second to Byers at Notre Dame, plays attack and is the team’s leading scorer through two games.

Long Island soundly thrashed the Philadelphia Force this past weekend, 17-7, behind Fortunato’s four goals and another from midfielder — and fellow Class of 2017 graduate — Casey Pearsall (Wilton, Conn.)

That game also featured a goal from Force defender Barbara Sullivan ’15, ‘16 MSM, who is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in draw controls and caused turnovers.

Byers works under Regy Thorpe, who is the Sound’s coach and also a Syracuse Orange assistant coach, and alongside Caitlin Defliese, another Orange assistant. Byers, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2009, just finished her third season as assistant coach for Ohio State. The Buckeyes finished a disappointing 6-11 in 2017, after going 11-6 the prior year.

The Sound (2-0) will face fellow unbeaten Boston Storm at 6 p.m. Friday at UMass Amherst. The United Women’s Lacrosse League offers seven regular season games and two playoff games. It ends Aug. 2.

Fortunato was named to the U.S. Lacrosse’s 2017 World Cup training team, but did not survive the roster cut from 25 to 18. As of May, her plans were to return to Notre Dame to earn her master’s degree in management from the Mendoza College of Business. Unfortunately for the Irish squad, Fortunato has exhausted her eligibility in lacrosse.