Gophers End Season with 2-3 PK Shootout against Illinois
Oct. 31, 2012
After leading 2-0 in the first half, No. 4 seeded Minnesota tied No. 5 Illinois in regulation before falling in penalty kicks, 2-3, during the opening game of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Ind. The Gophers finish the season with an 11-7-2 record while the Illini advance to face the winner of No. 1 Penn State/No. 8 Iowa on Friday.
The Gophers held a 2-1 lead at halftime after scoring early in the match. The first goal came at the 10:30 mark in a play reminiscent of the game a few weeks ago against Purdue. On a breakaway to the goal, Tamara Strahota was tripped up in the box, giving Illinois' Amy Feher a red card and forcing the Illini to play down a player for the remainder of the game. The foul gave Minnesota a penalty kick, which was easily put away by Taylor Uhl. Three minutes later, Uhl scored her second of the game with a bullet to the far posts.
The Illini answered within six when they were given a free kick outside the box. Gopher keeper Cat Parkhill deflected the original shot but Aliina Weykamp finished from two yards out.
Illinois tied the game at two midway through the second half. Vanessa DiBernardo snuck a pass behind Minnesota's defense to Niki Read who launched a shot into the net. Both teams continued to battle for the win but neither were able to connect for the game-winner, sending the match into overtime.
After two 10-minute overtime periods, the scoreboard still read 2-2 meaning the game would be decided by penalty kicks. Minnesota took the first position and started the round of five with Uhl. Uhl struck to the upper right corner for the point. Marissa Price took the second, aiming for the lower left corner but was stopped by Illinois' keeper Steph Panozzo. MacKenzie Misel barely missed her PK, hitting it off the left post and out to put the Gophers behind 2-1. With the game on the line, Strahota stepped up and buried her attempt. Parkhill then stopped Illinois' fourth kicker to keep the game alive. In a must-score situation, Taylor Wodnick tried for the lower left corner but also found the post to give Illinois the victory.
Uhl led the team on offense with six shots, four on goal, while Strahota and Wodnick added three each. Uhl finishes the season with 21 goals and nine assists, just two points shy of Jennifer Walek's school record. She also moves up to fifth on the all-time leaderboard in career goals with 36 total.