The Gophers earned their first home Big Ten win of the season Sunday, beating Indiana 1-0 in overtime.
Gophers forward Lindsey Schwartz found the back of the net after 96 minutes of play, shortly after missing a shot high above the goal.
Schwartz scored off a pass from senior midfielder Kaitlin Wagner, beating Hoosiers goalkeeper Lindsey Campbel l on a breakaway to score her sixth goal of the season and fifth game winner.
“I was literally thinking ‘Just place the ball; just pass it into the goal,’” Schwartz said. “I just knew I had to be composed. I was really excited afterwards.”
The Gophers (12-1-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) were unable to dominate the first half, head coach Mikki Denney Wright said.
“I thought it took awhile to get our rhythm,” she said. “But once we did we were really dangerous in the second half.”
The Gophers had problems early in the game switching the point, Wagner and Schwartz said. But once the team had found its groove, it was able to unbalance the Hoosiers defense and build the attack much more effectively.
“We knew it was going to be a gritty game,” Denny Wright said. “I was really impressed at how we made some adjustments.”
The Gophers did not have a Friday game this week, and the extra day was helpful, Wagner said.
The Hoosiers (5-8-0, 0-4-0) entered the game Sunday fresh from a 1-0 loss in Iowa on Friday night.
The Gophers felt confident going into overtime despite an increasingly physical game, Schwartz said.
“You can’t really back down in games like that when it does start to get physical,” she said. “You just have to be physical back to the other team.”
Denney Wright said of Indiana, that the team was a tough one to break down, but her team was confident.
“I knew it was just a matter of time before we got a goal,” she said.
After two full halves, the team’s energy was hardly waning, Wagner said.
“We just wanted to play our game, obviously, and keep attacking like we had been the whole game,” she said.
Schwartz said the team felt driven to get a win Sunday.
“We knew we did not want to tie,” she said. “We did not want to let Indiana get a point in the Big Ten.”
Though cold, rainy weather forced a smaller-than-average attendance turnout , the conditions seemed to bolster the Gophers.
“I like cold weather when I play,” Wagner said. “I feel like I can run forever.”
Next weekend the Gophers will host Purdue in a 7 p.m. game Friday and Illinois in a 1 p.m. game Sunday.
The team is confident about next weekend’s outcome.
“We need to come out with two big wins this weekend,” Wagner said.
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