January 12, 2011

Notre Dame Women Sign Six to NLIs

from press release

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame women's lacrosse coach Tracy Coyne, who is in her 15th season as the coach of the Notre Dame women's lacrosse program, has announced the signing of six high school lacrosse players to national letters of intent. They will attend the University beginning in the fall of 2011.

Signing letters of intent in the early-signing period are: Taylor Freeman (Dallas, Texas), Leah Gallagher (Radnor, Pa.), Caitlin Gargan (Rocky Point, N.Y.), Allie Murray (Exton, Pa.), Shauna Pugliese (Rochester, N.Y.) and Barbara Sullivan (Garden City, N.Y.)

In making the announcement, Coyne said, "We are pleased to welcome an outstanding group of student-athletes to the Irish women's lacrosse program. Not only has there talent on the lacrosse field impressed me, but also their commitment to academic excellence. Each one brings a unique skill set that will make an immediate impact on the program. They are passionate dedicated young women who are a perfect fit for Notre Dame."

The six-player class consists of three players from New York, two from Pennsylvania and one for Texas as Taylor Freeman becomes the first women's lacrosse recruit ever from the Lone Star state. The group includes one goalkeeper, two defensive midfield players and three midfielders.

Taylor Freeman is a 5-5 defense/midfielder from Dallas, Texas where she attends The Hockaday School and is a member of the Nitro Texas lacrosse club. A two-sport athlete in soccer and lacrosse, Freeman has played on two state championship teams in lacrosse (2008 and 2009) and saw her team advance to the state championship game in 2010. The team captain of the soccer team in 2010, Freeman helped The Hockaday School to the Southwest Preparatory Conference championship game this year, the semifinals in 2009 and the conference championship in 2008. A seven-year member of the Dallas Sting Soccer Club (the club team of current Irish soccer standouts Courtney Barg, Melissa Henderson and Jessica Schuvelier), she was a member of the state championship team in 2006 and the national championship team in 2007 as an attacking central midfielder.

Coyne on Freeman: "Taylor is our first recruit from the state of Texas which is really exciting for the program. She played soccer at a very competitive level for a nationally ranked club program for many years but once she started playing lacrosse, she fell in love with the game. She's a smart player with outstanding athletic ability and a strong desire to succeed on the Division I level. Taylor is mentally tough with a great attitude. Once she adjusts to the speed of play I expect Taylor to become a solid contributor in her first year. A Notre Dame legacy, she's a perfect fit for the University overall."

Leah Gallagher is a 5-5 midfielder from Radnor, Pa., where she plays at Radnor High School, one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the country. A two-sport athlete at Radnor where she also plays basketball, Gallagher will serve as the team captain for the lacrosse team that has won three consecutive Pennsylvania state championships. A member of the Ultimate Goal lacrosse club, she is a talented player with outstanding speed and stick skills. ESPN RISE listed her among the top 20 attackers "On The Rise" for the upcoming spring season.

Coyne on Gallagher: "Leah is a talented middie who plays for one of the best programs in the country at Radnor. Being a member of multiple state championship teams in high school has taught her how to win. We definitely value recruiting proven winners. Leah comes from a long line of Radnor players who have succeeded at ND, most recently Kristen Hopson and Becky Ranck. She's fast and athletic with strong fundamental skills and can fill a variety of roles for us, replacing the speed in the midfield we are losing to graduation. Leah's a natural leader who will thrive in the Notre Dame environment."

Caitlin Gargan is a 5-8 midfielder from Rocky Point, N.Y., where she attends Rocky Point High School and is a member of the Long Island Yellow Jackets Lacrosse Club. A member of three Suffolk County championship teams (2008, 2009, 2010), Gargan has scored 113 goals with 134 assists in her first three seasons at Rocky Point. A three-sport athlete in lacrosse, soccer and track, Gargan has tremendous speed and athletic ability. She has been selected all-Suffolk County twice (2009, 2010) and is a 2010 high school All-American and academic All-American. A member of the 2010 Empire State gold-medal winning team representing Long Island, Gargan was selected all-conference in soccer for the 2010 campaign and was most valuable player on Rocky Point's winter track team. She played for the Long Island all-stars in the 2010 Under Armour All-American game last summer in Baltimore, Md.

Coyne on Gargan: "We're very pleased to have a player of Caitlin's caliber joining our program. Caitlin is a fast, athletic middie with a knack for putting up points. Not only does she have tremendous speed, Caitlin also has great endurance that makes her very dangerous. Those attributes are what sets her apart and will make her an excellent college midfielder. Caitlin has won championships at Rocky Point and with the Yellow Jackets. That's why we wanted her to play at Notre Dame. She's a winner. Caitlin also is an excellent student so she will do very well academically at Notre Dame."

Allie Murray is a 5-5 goalkeeper from Exton, Pa., where she plays at Downingtown East High School and is a member of the PA Express lacrosse club. Recognized as one of the top high school goalkeepers in the nation, she is ranked fifth on ESPN RISE's list of top senior goalkeepers "On The Rise" for 2011. In 2010, Murray backstopped Downingtown East to a 19-6 season, fifth place in District 1 and a berth in the second round of the PIAA state championships. She is a member of the U.S. Women's National Under-19 training team and was selected all-conference in each of the last three seasons. A two-sport athlete, Murray is a member of the Downingtown East field hockey team where she served as team captain in the fall and is a two-time all-conference selection. She was a member of the Philly team that participated in the 2010 Under Armour Underclassmen games last summer in Baltimore, Md.

Coyne on Murray: "Allie is a quick, athletic goalkeeper who makes incredible saves; show stopping kind of saves. When she's hot, she's really fun to watch. The addition of Allie to the roster gives us two outstanding goalkeepers, something we haven't had in a very long time. Our shooters will be forced to get better. We are very proud of Allie for being selected to the U-19 training team for the World Cup this summer. The opportunity to train and play with the very best will sharpen Allie's skills and give her an edge when she transitions to the speed of D1 game. Allie will be a great asset to our program."

Shauna Pugliese is a 5-5 midfielder from Rochester, N.Y., where she attends Webster Schroeder High School and is a member of the Relentless Hustle Lacrosse Club. As a junior, Pugliese led Webster Schroeder in goals (50) and points (69) and was an all-Greater Rochester team and first team Monroe County all-league selection while taking the Webster Warrior offensive MVP honors. She was an honorable mention selection to the all-Greater Rochester team in 2009 with 39 goals and 25 assists for 64 points while taking first team all-league honors. A three-time Scholar-Athlete award recipient, she helped the Western New York team to the silver medal at the 2010 Empire State games.

Coyne on Pugliese: "Shauna has all the tools to be a standout middie on the Division I level. Shauna's speed, quick first step and stick skills make her very difficult to stop. She catches your eye because she is always involved in the play. Shauna demands the ball in key situations because she has the heart of a champion. She wants to win. I love her competitive attitude and desire to be the best. Those attributes combined with a tremendous work ethic guarantee Shauna will play a key role in our future success. We're happy to have the best 2011 player from Rochester playing for the Irish."

Barbara Sullivan is a 5-10 defense/midfielder who is from Garden City, N.Y., where she plays at Garden City High School and is a member of Long Island Yellow Jackets lacrosse club. Ranked by many as the top defensive recruit in the nation, Sullivan is a member of the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Under-19 training team. A four-year regular at Garden City, she has helped the team to three consecutive New York State Class B championships. A 2010 U.S. Lacrosse high school All-American and Academic All-American, she was selected all-County and all-Long Island following the 2010 season, Sullivan was the most valuable player of the New York State Class B Championship game was selected to the all-tournament team. A member of the 2010 Under Armour Team, she also played for the gold medal team at the 2010 Empire State championships. Sullivan also plays basketball and soccer at Garden City. In basketball she is a two-time team captain where she plays guard. She is a two-time all-county selection and was the 2010 conference player of the year while taking all-state honors. The captain of the 2010 soccer team, Sullivan helped Garden City to its first-ever New York State championship in 2010 while taking all-Long Island and all-conference honors.

Coyne on Sullivan: "Barbara is the best defender in the country. We're thrilled to have Barb wearing the Irish uniform and representing the U.S. as a member of the U-19 team. She has all the attributes of a champion. She's tough, tenacious, gritty with a tremendous will to win. She's a special type of player who makes those around her better. Winning championships is something Barbara has grown accustomed to playing for Garden City and the Yellow Jackets. She has the same competitiveness and drive to win as our senior All-American defender Jackie Doherty. She will step in and fill Jackie's role very nicely. Barbara joins a long line of Irish players from Long Island who've had incredible experiences at Notre Dame. She is a perfect fit."

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