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In front of a crowd of 857 fans, the University of Minnesota women's soccer team pulled out a 1-0 win over Michigan State to garner their first Big Ten Conference win of the season. The triumph is the Golden Gophers' first win over MSU since 2007 and only the second since 2000.
To start the match, which was played live on the Big Ten Network, Minnesota (6-5-0, 1-2 Big Ten) came out firing early, and they were able to cap a goal within the first 10 minutes of the match.
Sophomore Katie Thyken would start the buildup as she poked a ball from a Michigan State (7-3-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten) midfielder and passed a through ball to Taylor Uhl, who was making a run to the end line. The nation's leading scorer dribbled to the right side of the six-yard box and dished the ball off to fellow sophomore Taylor Wodnick. The forward from Plymouth, Minn. then drove home the go-ahead goal in the eighth minute of play.
With the early score, Minnesota has now tallied a goal within the first 20 minutes of play in all but four of their matches.
Just over 10 minutes later, the Gophers were back at it again as Uhl made a shifty move to get around the Spartan defender. As she approached the near post, she pulled the keeper and tried to blast the ball through a small window. Her shot attempt would be off mark and ricochet off the near post.
Following Uhl's chance, Michigan State generated their first scoring opportunities of the match off a corner kick. The service would come into the middle of the box with Golden Gopher goalkeeper Cat Parkhill coming out to punch the ball away. As she soared forward, the ball would graze backwards off her knuckles and fly towards goal. Senior Tamara Strahota, who was playing on the goal line, would head the ball away. Lisa Vogue from Michigan State would rebound and strike a ball towards goal, but Parkhill batted the shot away.
In the 39th minute, Strahota would transfer her abilities to the offensive side of the field. Freshman Elle Dykema sliced and diced through the right side of the Spartan defense and pass back to the redshirt senior, who blazed a ball from 15 yards out. Strahota's strike would continue to rise and just sail over the crossbar.
MSU would get one last before half as Rachel Vanpoppelen was left unmarked on the backside of the goal, but Parkhill made a sliding save to keep the Gophers up 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, the Spartans' play improved as they generated a little more pressure on the Parkhill and the Gophers backline.
The most threatening attempt by Michigan State came in the 49th minute when a back pass to Parkhill was intercepted by Olivia Stander. The MSU forward would then chip a ball over Parkhill, who stood in no-man's land. With an open goal, the shot would take a bounce on the ground and then hit the post before being cleared.
On the other hand, Minnesota was looking to get something going and extend their goal.
The squad's best opportunity came in the 73rd minute of play when Uhl and Thyken had back-to-back shots, but neither would cross the goal line.
In the final minute, Michigan State was pressing and proved to fluster the Gophers, but the Maroon & Gold would stay strong and run the clock out, giving them their first Big Ten victory.
Minnesota now takes a few days off to prepare for No. 14 Wisconsin, who comes to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 27. The two face off in the annual Border Battle at 7 p.m., which has been named a "Gold Out" match.
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