On a sunny fall day in St. Paul, Minn., the University of Minnesota women’s soccer team battled with No. 24 Penn State, but the Nittany Lions would tally a goal in the 84th minute and leave Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium with a 1-0 Big Ten Conference road victory.
The Golden Gophers (4-7-1, 1-2-2 Big Ten) had a few early scares as PSU (11-3-0, 6-0-0 Big Ten) had two shots ricochet off the crossbar within the first 10 minutes, but both attempts would be cleared by the Maroon and Gold defense to negate the Nittany Lions’ attack.
As the first half moved on, Minnesota would slow down the high-scoring offense and begin to put pressure on the Penn State backline with a trio of corner kicks.
The Gophers finest attempt came in the 21st minute when senior Shari Eckstrom poked a ball away from a PSU midfielder and then struck the ball towards the right post from 20 yards out, but the shot would slice right of the goal.
The two Big Ten foes would remain scoreless for the first half as Penn State won the shot battle 9-4 while each team recorded three corners.
In the second half, Minnesota continued to focus on containing the Nittany Lions’ offense, but PSU would slip one through the cracks of the Gophers’ defense late in the match.
With six minutes remaining, PSU senior Carly Niness serviced a ball to forward Taylor Schram, who was posted up at the top of the 18-yard box. Schram then penetrated a few yards towards the goal to force the Maroon and Gold’s defensive line to respect her attack, but the sophomore had other thoughts in mind as she touched the ball through for Maya Hayes to finish the game-winning goal in the 84th minute.
Hayes, who leads the nation in scoring with 37 points, tallied her nation leading 16th goal on the season and her sixth game-winner in 2011.
Minnesota would end up getting outshot 16-5 for the match as the Gophers only recorded one shot in the second half, which was a Taylor Wodnick header in the 61st that was saved by PSU’s goalkeeper.
The Golden Gophers look to rebound from Sunday’s disappointing 1-0 loss on Saturday, October 8 as they travel to face the University of Iowa (10-1-2, 2-1-2 Big Ten), who is coming off a 1-0 win over Michigan State. The match is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. in Iowa City, Iowa.