#2 Irish Down Vanderbilt, 19-5, in 2021 Season Opener

Lynch matches career-high with seven points

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Samantha Lynch and Kasey Choma each netted five goals as the #2 Irish opened the season with a 19-5 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon inside Loftus Sports Center.

Lynch also added two assists to collect a game-high seven points, which also matched her career-best. Jessi Masinko added four markers while Madison Ahern finished with five points on a goal and four assists. Jackie Wolak added two goals and freshmen Keelin Schlageter and Kelly Denes both notched their first career goals.

Bridget Deehan anchored the Irish defense with 10 saves to earn the victory in goal. Kelly Donnelly, Erin McBride and Kathleen Roe each caused a pair of turnovers. 

Savannah Buchanan led all players with five draw controls while Roe added four and Choma added three. As a team, the Irish earned a 15-11 advantage in draw controls, 17-12 advantage in ground balls and outshot Vanderbilt, 37-17.

Notre Dame opened the contest with the game’s first six goals and kept the Commodores off the board until the 1:59 mark of the first half. The Irish got tallies from Denes, Lynch (2), Masinko (2) and Choma in the 6-0 run before Ahern scored with just over a minute left in the frame to give Notre Dame a 7-1 lead at the break.

Deehan stopped seven of the eight shots she faced in the first half and the Irish defenses caused eight Vanderbilt turnovers in the frame.

The Commodores answered with the first three goals of the second half to get within 7-4 before Notre Dame closed the contest on a 12-1 run to earn the 19-5 victory. 

Wolak, Lynch and Choma each scored back-to-back goals in an Irish 6-0 run that put the hosts up 13-4. 

After a Vanderbilt goal, the Irish went on another 6-0 run over the final 18:59 of play with goals from Choma (2), Masinko (2), Lynch and Schlageter.

Coach Halfpenny on returning to action:
“It was emotional to get started. It was just like ‘we made it’, and we were prepared. We went into today with the expectation of playing to our standard and it was awesome. Honestly, I’m just really proud of these women and super happy for them.”

Samantha Lynch on returning to action:
“We’ve been waiting for this day for 300+ days and it felt amazing to be back. Everyone was energized to go up against an opponent than ourselves and we were ready to go.”


  • Samantha Lynch matched her career-high with seven points. 
  • Saturday marked the fourth five+ goal performance of Lynch’s career.
  • Jackie Wolak earned a career-high three points in Saturday’s win (2G, 1A)
  • Madison Ahern matched her career-high with five points (G, 4A) and her four assists were a career-best.
  • Notre Dame kept Vanderbilt off the board for the first 18:01 of play and the final 19:35 of play.
  • Notre Dame improves to 17-1 in home games dating back to March 24, 2018.
  • The Irish move to 21-4 all-time in season-opening games.