Before Minnesota's game against Illinois on Sunday, midfielder Emily Heslin said head coach Stefanie Golan didn't want the team to dwell on its Thursday loss to Northwestern, but instead use it as motivation to win.
Minnesota (10-3-3, 6-2-1) used that motivation to score three second-half goals, and defeat Illinois (5-12-0, 2-7-0) 4-0 in Champaign, Illinois.
Forward April Bockin scored Minnesota's first goal in the 18th minute. It was Bockin's third goal of the season. Midfielder Molly Fiedler earned an assist.
"She wanted us to turn the page and leave it behind us," Heslin said. "At the same time, she really wanted us to use that as fuel. I think we did that today."
Heslin scored her third goal of the season in the 78th minute, extending Minnesota's lead to 2-0. Heslin scored off of a free kick after Illinois goalkeeper jumped to try and make a save, but the ball flew past her into the right side of the net. The goal was unassisted.
"It was a goal that we needed so we could have a bit of a cushion," Heslin said.
Forward Sydney Squires scored her 14th goal of the season in the 87th minute. Bockin and Fiedler both earned assists. Bockin said the team needs Squires to continue scoring if Minnesota wants to have success this postseason.
"She's been great up top. She gets herself opportunities and finishes them," Bockin said. "It's been great for us, and we hope she keeps doing it."
Bockin scored on a penalty kick after Illinois defender Alicia Barker was called for a handball. Barker got a red card and was ejected from the game. The goal came 21 seconds after Squires scored. This was Bockin's first multi-goal game this season.
"Everyone's a competitor," Heslin said. "You can never underestimate anyone because there are games where the underdog pulls out a win. We can never go in with that mindset."
Minnesota's next game is on Friday against Ohio State (12-3-1, 7-2-0) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Six seniors will play in their final regular-season home game for Minnesota, including Squires. Golan said this game will be meaningful for her and the seniors.
"These six seniors have been a really big part of building this program the way that I want it to be represented," Golan said. "They're an incredibly special piece of what we've been able to establish here."