It was a picturesque evening for soccer as Minnesota's offense came to life.
Minnesota (4-3-0) shut out North Dakota State (1-3-0) 4-0 on Friday night at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, ending the Gophers' three-match losing streak. Three players scored for the Gophers: forwards April Bockin, Makenzie Langdok and defender Nikki Albrecht. Minnesota had not scored more than two goals in a regular-season match since beating Illinois 4-0 on Oct. 15, 2017.
Head coach Stefanie Golan said Minnesota wanted to build off its 2-1 overtime loss to No. 1 Stanford on Sept. 2.
"Let's have a good performance and find a way to win a game that we felt like we should win," Golan said. "To score multiple goals and keep a shutout was huge."
Langdok scored the match-opening goal in the 18th minute after receiving a pass from Celina Nummerdor. Langdok took a shot from just outside the box, and the ball went past Bison goalkeeper Monica Polgar, who dove to her left trying to stop the ball. It was Langdok's first goal of the season.
Minnesota quadrupled its lead in the second half. In the 54th minute, Bockin received a pass from midfielder Molly Fiedler and ran past a pair of North Dakota defenders before shooting the ball into the lower righthand corner of the net. She scored again 24 seconds later. Midfielder Emily Heslin recorded an assist on Bockin's second goal of the season and the match.
Albrecht scored her first goal of the season in the 56th minute. She headed the ball into the net after receiving a corner kick from Bockin.
"It was a long time coming," Albrecht said. "It was awesome to finally get a head on one and attack the ball."
Goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen made one save and won her fourth game of the season. Freshman Ana Aguado replaced her in the 59th minute. Aguado made two saves in her first regular-season appearance for Minnesota.
Golan said she wanted to give Aguado some experience while Minnesota held a multiple-goal lead.
"As a freshman, being on the field for that length of time gets the nerve out of your system," Golan said. "She made a couple of saves in there [and] didn't have any shaky moments. It gives an opportunity to boost her confidence and puts them [Nielsen and Aguado] in a position to continue to compete."
Bockin said Minnesota didn't want to lose another nonconference game.
"We showed that we were the better team and scored a lot of goals," Bockin said. "That was fun."
Minnesota's next match will be against Illinois (5-2-0) on Friday. It will be Minnesota's Big Ten conference opener as well as Senior Night.