Senior Bridget Deehan saved eight of nine shots and two Irish scored four goals each as the fourth-ranked Notre Dame beat Robert Morris, 16-2, Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.
The Colonials were a last-minute substitution after No. 15 Virginia Tech announced it could not play due to a COVID-19 outbreak within their program. Robert Morris, who competes in the MAC, opened its season with wins against Liberty, Fresno State, Gardner-Webb and Kent State.
The visitors played physical and stymied early chances for the Irish (2-0), who were playing their first game since Feb. 13. Freshman Keelin Schlageter opened the scoring on the Irish’s fourth free position attempt, bouncing a low ball past Colonials goalie Katelyn Miller, about 11 minutes into the first half.
Following the first of three Robert Morris yellow cards, senior attack Maddie Howe scored her first goal of the season on a free-position attempt about four minutes after Schlageter’s icebreaker. Howe, who finished with four goals and two assists, scored her second following another Colonials yellow card that created a one-woman advantage for the Irish.
Robert Morris scored its first half goal — and only one on Deehan — with 6:45 remaining in the first to narrow the Irish lead to 5-1. But sixth year Samantha Lynch, graduate Savannah Buchanan, Howe, graduate Jessi Maskinko and Schlageter’s second made it 10-1 at the half.
Lynch added three second-half goals to match Howe’s four total goals. The Colonials’ Melanie Gandy snuck one past freshman goalie Lilly Callahan, who tallied her first career save moments later. Freshman midfielder Alexandra McHugh scored her first career goal to cap the Irish’s scoring with less than a minute remaining in the game.
The host Irish outshot Robert Morris, 38-17 (26-11 on shots on goal), won 14 draw controls to the Colonials’ five, and were 16-for-16 on clears out of their own defensive zone. The Irish caused 14 of the Colonials’ 16 turnovers, while commiting 10 of their own.
Buchanan converted two of her four free position attempts, while McHugh, Masinko, Howe, Lynch and Schlageter also scored from the 8 meter line. The Colonials committed 26 fouls to the Irish’s 12, and there were five yellow cards issued in the game.
The Irish picked up 22 groundballs, led by graduate midfielder Kelly McBride’s five.
The Irish players also raised $3,500 for Game Hair Havoc 2021, a fundraiser for the HEADstrong Foundation. The organization offers financial and residential support to families affected by cancer. Notre Dame is currently ranked fifth among all teams in raising funds for the nonprofit group.
The Irish’s upcoming schedule includes a double-dip against the second-ranked Orange, which will mark the beginning of ACC competition. Games against 11th ranked Duke, ninth-ranked Virginia and No. 1 North Carolina are upcoming as well.
Thursday’s game against the Orange will begin at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.