Bridget Deehan’s between-pipes performance has underwhelmed in the season’s first quarter, but she proved her resilience amid adversity Sunday while preserving Notre Dame’s victory on one good leg.
The graduate goaltender injured her left knee while making one of her 16 saves against the No. 13 Virginia Cavaliers (3-4, 0-2 ACC), but continued to play hurt in the 12-10 victory for the No. 16 Irish (2-4, 1-1 ACC) at Arlotta Stadium. Sophomore Lilly Callahan took over in net for the final 3:08, when it was apparent Deehan was simply exacerbating the injury.
Deehan entered the game with 31 saves in 90 shots on goal during the Irish’s 1-4 start, while the Irish defense has struggled to adjust to the losses of Kelly Donnelly and Kathleen Roe to graduation. On Sunday, Deehan stopped 16 of the Cavaliers’ 25 shots to help her team earn its first ACC victory of the 2022 season.
The Irish jumped out to a 3-1 first quarter lead behind the junior troika of Madison Ahern, Kasey Choma and Jackie Wolak and never relinquished the lead. The Cavaliers and Irish each scored three goals apiece in the game’s second quarter, with Ahern and Wolak scoring again and graduate attack Maddie Howe taking advantage of a caused turnover by Mary Kelly Doherty to score on an unsettled Cavaliers’ defense.
At half, Notre Dame was outshooting their visitors 19-16 (although 13 each on goal), had notched nine saves to the Cavaliers’ seven, won 8 of 12 draw controls and had scooped up one more ground ball than Virginia.
Howe and Choma scored three times total following the break to extend the Irish’s lead to 9-4, but the Cavaliers returned three of their own to cut their deficit to two again.
With Howe sitting for a two-minute yellow card and Virginia a woman up, Wolak found Ahern cutting toward net without her defender and fired a no look pass to her junior teammate. Ahern deeked junior goaltender Ashley Vernon to make it a 10-7 game.
Deehan made four saves in the final period, including two stops on free position attempts — one before Wolak’s goal and another shortly before leaving the game. Callahan yielded one goal in what became the Cavaliers’ only shot on goal against her.
Freshman midfielder Kelly Denes led all players with six draw control wins, while Howe and junior midfielder Madison Mote each caused two turnovers. (Mote also scored and scooped up four ground balls.)
Senior Ashlyn McGovern, junior Jaime Biskup, sophomore Mackenzie Hoag and freshman Rachel Clark scored two goals each for Virginia in a losing effort.
The Irish travel to Blacksburg for a 3 p.m. game Thursday against the Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3, 1-1 ACC), while the Cavaliers head home to host Richmond on Wednesday.
Notre Dame’s road trip will take them from Virginia to North Carolina for a Sunday game against Jacksonville, then to Florida for a game against Yale in Naples before returning home for a March 26 date against Duke.