Oct. 16, 2011
On a windy and overcast Sunday afternoon, University of Minnesota junior Allie Phillips capped the lone goal of the day in the 60th minute of play to give the women's soccer team a much needed 1-0 road victory over Northwestern to keep their Big Ten Conference tournament hopes alive. The triumph boosts fellow junior Cat Parkhill to 32 career wins, which now ranks her third all-time in Minnesota history.
"Today was a great rebound performance for our group," said head coach Mikki Denney Wright. "We are becoming more mature and consistent with each game."
After showcasing a laid back style of play in the first half, the Golden Gophers came out in the later 45 minutes with a strong offensive mindset and pounced on the Wildcats.
It wasn't until the 60th minute that the Gophers tallied the second half score when junior Olivia Bagnall toed the ball away from a Northwestern midfielder on the far side of the field. Bagnall dribbled down the sideline and serviced a left-footed ball to the top of the box. As it bounced over a jumping Shari Eckstrom, fellow midfielder Allie Phillips came streaking by to collect the pass, and with a quick one touch, the Vadnais Heights, Minn. native struck the ball into the back right side of the net for the match's game-winning goal.
With minutes remaining in the game, it looked as if the Gophers were going to possession the ball and hold off the Wildcats, but a late game-saving denial by junior Cat Parkhill was needed to give Minnesota its third Big Ten win of the season.
"Northwestern has a very dangerous long throw that is tough to handle in this wind," said Denney Wright. "And that late scoring attempt (by Northwestern) was one instance where Cat made a key play for us in defending against their long throw."
The redshirt junior from Apple Valley, Minn. recorded her third shutout of the season while tallying five saves. The 1-0 victory also jumps Parkhill to third all-time in Minnesota history with 32 career wins. She surpasses her predecessor Lindsey Dare who garnered 31 wins for Minnesota from 2005-08.
In the first half, the Golden Gophers came out with blazing as they tried to test Northwestern's freshman goalkeeper, Anna Cassell, but the Maroon and Gold were unable to notch a quick goal after Shari Eckstrom and Taylor Uhl each tallied a menacing attempt.
Northwestern would contain the Gopher attack for the rest of the half, and with the score sheet nearly balanced across the board, they headed into the locker rooms tied nil-nil.
It was like night and day for Minnesota when they came out in the second half as they launched off eight shots within the first 10 minutes of the period. Their second half intensity went unmatched as the Wildcats were unable to construct a strong offensive attack the rest of the match.
The Gophers' most potent threat all day was Uhl. The Eden Prairie, Minn. native recorded six shots on the day with three being on goal. Fellow forward Nicole Baier chipped in three shots with two on frame.
Sunday's match caps off the Maroon and Gold's regular-season road schedule for 2011. Coach Denney Wright's squad now returns home for a trio of very important matches at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium to close out the regular season. Their first contest is Friday, October 21 as it plays host to Indiana. The match beings at 7 p.m. and is one of many activities scheduled to take place during the Minnesota homecoming weekend.