Facing two opponents that have forced more overtime games with Minnesota than any other team, the Gophers could have made good use of an extra 10-minute session this weekend.
The Gophers (10-3-3 overall, 3-2-1 Big Ten) lost 1-0 to Penn State in the last minute of regulation on Friday. A similar fate awaited Minnesota on Sunday as a second half goal gave No. 19 Ohio State a 1-0 win.
"It's heartbreaking for our kids to lose that way ‘cause they fought so hard," head coach Mikki Denney Wright said.
A late foul called on the Gophers set up the game-winning opportunity for the Nittany Lions (8-5-2, 4-1-1) .
With just six seconds left in regulation, Penn State’s senior forward Katie Schoepfer took a free kick. Her strike beat the Minnesota defense and made it to redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cat Parkhill , who was unable to come up with the save.
Parkhill said shots like Schoepfer’s are tough to block, waiting to make a last-minute decision on how to come up with the save.
As expected, Schoepfer and junior Danielle Toney proved to be Penn State’s most dangerous forwards, each putting three shots on net . The team forced Parkhill into nine saves before scoring the game winner.
Minnesota troubled senior goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher with 12 shots on net, four of which came from junior Julie Rezac — a career high for the midfielder .
Penn State’s victory snapped a 19-game unbeaten streak at home for the Gophers and gave the team its first Big Ten loss of the season.
It was the Nittany Lions’ first win on the road in 2009 and bumped them into first place in the Big Ten.
“That's a good team, in my opinion the best team we've played this year," Denney Wright said.
While Minnesota didn’t lose to the Buckeyes (11-2-2, 4-1-1) in the last minute, the team suffered a familiar 1-0 loss.
The lone goal of the game came off a corner kick taken by Ohio State in the 61st minute . The ball bounced around the 18-yard box before sophomore forward Caitlyn Martin scored what would prove to be the game-winner. Senior midfielder Ashley Bowyer had the assist.
Freshman midfielder Olivia Bagnall gave the Gophers their bast chance to answer the Buckeyes in a similar fashion with 18 minutes left to play.
Junior forward Katie Bethke took a corner kick that made its way to Bagnall after hitting off several defenders. Bagnall took a shot that narrowly hit the top post and bounced back out.
Another unsuccessful attack by Minnesota displaced senior goalkeeper Lauren Robertson out of the net to give the Gophers a chance, but Buckeyes defenders were able to clear the ball to preserve the shutout.
A defensive battle the entire way, Ohio State had just three shots on net while Minnesota had two. Robertson’s one save preserved her conference leading 10th shutout of the season.
The Gophers fell from first to fifth in the Big Ten, while Penn State and Ohio State now take over the top spot.
Minnesota will travel next weekend to face off against Michigan and Michigan State on Oct. 23 and 25, respectively.
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