A trio of Notre Dame players scored at least four goals each as the No. 2 Irish beat the Vanderbilt Commodores 19-5 Saturday in women’s lacrosse at Loftus Sports Center.
The Irish’s season opener seemed, in many respects, like a continuation of the pandemic-shortened season.
Sophomore midfielder Kasey Choma, who led the team with 22 goals in an outstanding freshman season, scored five times. The Irish, who scored 16.71 goals per game and beat the Commodores by 10 last year, scored 19 and won by 14 today. Senior goalie Bridget Deehan, named Inside Lacrosse’s Breakthrough Player of the Year, saved ten of 15 Commodores shots on goals.
Freshman Kelly Denes opened the scoring on a free-position attempt immediately after senior midfielder Andie Aldave left the game with an injury. Aldave, named a pre-season All-American by both Inside Lacrosse and U.S. Lacrosse Magazine, did not return to the game.
Sixth-year Samantha Lynch scored the first of her quinfecta after a pretty give-and-go between her and senior Maddie Howe. Attack Jessi Masinko deposited back-to-back goals past Vanderbilt’s Paige Gunning to double the lead early — a first and second of four scores for the graduate student.
The Irish returned 97.5 percent of its total offense from last year, including Choma, Aldave, Howe, Masinko, Lynch, Madison Ahern, Erin McBride and Savannah Buchanan.
Ahern, a sophomore, scored a response goal shortly before halftime to give the Irish a 7-1 lead at the break. She also tallied four assists.
The Commodores made the game interesting by scoring three times to open the second half, but the Irish responded with the next six goals — including two by sophomore attack Jackie Wolak — to put the game out of reach.
The Irish outshot the Commodores, won the draw control battle despite losing Aldave, and committed fewer turnovers than their Nashville guests. The Commodores did capitalize off a few communication breakdowns by the Irish defense, but could not stop the Notre Dame women from spreading it around at will in front of their net.
The Irish were 2-for-7 on free position attempts, including Howe being blanked twice. The senior from Fairport, N.Y. was scoreless on the day, but did have two assists.
The Irish improve to 21-4 all-time in first games, and 8-2 in season lid-lifters under coach Christine Halfpenny. They will host Central Michigan at 6 p.m. Friday on a game televised on the ACC Network. Their ACC schedule begins Feb. 28.