Another weekend of play showed a strong, consistent Minnesota women’s soccer team, with the Gophers finishing the weekend in a series split.
The Gophers (15-2-0 Overall, 5-2-0 Big Ten ) fell 2-0 to the Nittany Lions on Friday before beating Ohio State 2-0 Sunday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.
Minnesota saw strong offensive production despite the loss. The team outshot Penn State 18-10 and held its own in shots on goal, ending the game with six, to Penn State’s seven.
Senior midfielder Kaitlin Wagner led the Gophers’ offensive push with five shots and two shots on goal. She has had 12 shots and six shots on goal in the past five games.
Wagner said the team knew the game would be close, adding the Gophers came out flat the first 15 minutes of the game to let Penn State gain the advantage.
Penn State got on the board early Friday night with a goal from forward Danielle Toney. A goal late in the game by redshirt freshman midfielder Meghan Gill put the Nittany Lions up 2-0 and sealed the Gophers’ fate. Katie Schoepfer led Penn State’s attack. The junior forward assisted on both goals and tallied two shots and one shot on goal.
“We had a lot of really good opportunities,” forward Molly Rouse said. “It just didn’t fall in our favor.”
Sunday’s game against Ohio State was a different story for the Gophers.
Minnesota got on the board in the 17th minute against the Buckeyes with a goal from Wagner. It was the earliest the Gophers have scored since Sept. 5.
“We wanted to try and score as soon as we could,” Wagner said. “Our attack was a lot better today. We finished our chances.”
Wagner and Rouse both tallied goals in Sunday’s victory, which kept the Gophers at second place in the Big Ten.
Gophers head coach Mikki Denney Wright said Sunday’s victory had a huge impact on the senior class. The Gophers have not beaten Ohio State since 2001.
“It’s really hard to win on the road in the Big Ten,” she said. “This is a huge road win for our team.”
The Gophers will host Wisconsin and Northwestern at home next weekend in Friday and Sunday games. The series will be the Gophers’ last full weekend of play leading up to the Big Ten tournament.
Denney Wright said the next few games are critical, and that the team is still looking for a strong finish in the Big Ten.
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