Dores Drop Opener

Vandy beaten by No. 2 Notre Dame

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Vanderbilt lacrosse team opened the 2021 season with a 19-5 defeat at the hands of No. 2 Notre Dame at the Loftus Sports Center on Saturday.

Vanderbilt (0-1) trimmed a six-goal halftime deficit down to three in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Irish (1-0) pulled away with 12 of the game’s final 13 goals.

“We talked at the end just about cleaning our game up. They recognized today that they had some really great moments and had they limited their mistakes, I think it really could have been a much different game,” Vanderbilt head coach Beth Hewitt said. “Going into the huddle when the seniors and upperclassmen are talking and you hear them basically saying a lot of the things that you would say before the coaches even come up, you have to feel good about that and where we stand.

“I’m still super excited about what this group will be able to accomplish this year.”

The Irish sprinted out to a 6-0 advantage in the opening 28 minutes. Maddie Souza got the Commodores on the board with 1:58 to go in the half when she beat her defender and fired a shot past the Notre Dame goalkeeper.



The Irish responded by tacking on one more before halftime for a 7-1 edge at the break.

Sophomore goalkeeper Paige Gunning was tested early, making seven first-half saves. Making her 10th career start for the Dores, Gunning tied a career high with 12 saves.

The Dores were aggressive right out of the gate in the second half, scoring the first three goals to claw back into the game. Vanderbilt won the draw to start the half before Cassidy Orban sprinted past three defenders and found the back of the net just 13 seconds into the frame.




Vanderbilt kept up the offensive pressure with a strike off the stick of Callie Sundin from a Gabby Fornia feed to trim the Notre Dame advantage down to 7-3. Mikela McCauley kept the run going with her first goal on the season with 25:09 left to make it 7-4.

Over the next five minutes, the Irish bounced back with a 6-0 run of their own to take control at 13-4. Paige Finneran stopped the run with a goal from an Ella Smith assist with 19:35 to pull the visitors within eight.

Notre Dame added six goals in the final 19 minutes.

Notre Dame was led on offense by Kasey Choma and Samantha Lynch with five goals apiece.

The Irish held a 37-17 advantage in shots and had 17 ground balls to Vandy’s 12. 

Saturday’s opener marked the fifth consecutive game for the Dores versus a ranked opponent dating to last season.

Vanderbilt is scheduled to make its home debut at noon Sunday against Colorado.