University of Minnesota freshman Taylor Uhl had a historic day for the Golden Gophers in their home opener Sunday afternoon as she tallied a hat trick in the Gophers' 5-0 triumph over South Dakota State. Uhl's hat trick is only the 11th in the program's 19-year history, and the third ever by a freshman (Jennifer Walek, 1993 and Erin Hussey, 1993).
Uhl's scoring frenzy began in the 7th minute of the first half when she ran down a Shari Eckstrom pass and went one-on-one with the Jackrabbits goalkeeper, Kat Donovan. Uhl won the matchup by chipping the ball over Donovan's head for the first goal of the match. The goal was assisted by Eckstrom and Gopher keeper Cat Parkhill, who drop kicked the ball to Eckstrom after a South Dakota State (0-2-0) attack was halted.
The Gophers (1-1-0) would go on to tally another goal before halftime thanks to a Nicole Baier header in the 22nd minute. The goal came off an Olivia Bagnall corner kick that was headed into Baier by freshman Becca Roberts. Both Bagnall and Roberts were credited with an assist.
In the second half, Minnesota expanded its lead by jumping right back on SDSU and notching a trio of goals. Steph Brandt and Uhl penetrated through the Jacks' defense and set up senior Josie Solie with an easy one-timer in the 49th minute. Three minutes later, Uhl was back at it as she received a cross from fellow freshman Taylor Wodnick and skipped a shot under the diving keeper to make the score 4-0.
The forward from Eden Prairie, Minn. wasn't finished yet because in the 63rd minute Uhl broke through the Jackrabbits' defense and got a shot off just before colliding with Donovan. The ball was deflected by Donvovan but still had enough to slip inside the right post to give the newcomer the 11th hat trick in program history.
Uhl's historic goal capped off the Gophers' stifling attack, making the final score 5-0.
Behind a stingy defense that only allowed two shots all game, Parkhill and Katie Roberts-Carlson split time in goal for the Golden Gophers. Parkhill went uncontested and subbed out in the 63rd minute while Roberts-Carlson made the lone save in her relief appearance. In contrast, Minnesota bombarded Donovan with 17 shots during the competition, scoring on half of the team's 10 shots on goal.
The Gophers now turn their heads to a different SDSU in San Diego State. The team travels to California this week for a Friday night match with the Aztecs and a Sunday afternoon meeting with UC-Santa Barbara. Friday's game against San Diego State begins at 6 p.m. CST while next Sunday's match takes place at 1:30 p.m. CST.