Minnesota Defense Continues Its Dominance
The Minnesota Soccer team was back in action on Saturday as they defeated the Iowa State Cyclones out of the Big 12 Conference in Ames, Iowa, by a score of 3-0 in spring exhibition play. The Gophers’ defense once again stymied its opponent by allowing only 2 shots all day, one on goal.
The first half was for the most part uneventful, as both teams struggled to create clear scoring opportunities. The Gophers outshot the Cyclones 7-0 over the period. Minnesota’s best chance of the half came in the 32nd minute of play when sophomore defender Jennie Clark feathered a ball in behind the Cyclone defense to sophomore midfielder Katie Bethke who had made a diagonal run. Bethke brought the ball down and spun an Iowa State defender who had run into the space with her before she released a shot that went high.
Minnesota came out of the halftime break with a renewed energy and focus, and proceeded to create scoring chance after scoring chance. They finally broke through in the 60th minute when forward Lindsey Schwartz beat a Cyclone defender on the left side of the penalty area and got end line to cross the ball. Iowa State’s goalkeeper deflected the cross in front of her goal, and Minnesota’s Katie Shelander, a sophomore forward out of Roseville, MN, was there to put it in the back of the net from 7 yards out. Shelander’s first tally of the spring season would stand up as the game winner.
The Gophers however were not finished. Seven minutes later Eckstrom would combine with Shelander to break down the Cyclone defense again. Eckstrom then slipped a pass in stride to Bethke who hit a brilliantly placed shot to the far side netting from 14 yards out to make the score 2-0 in favor of the visiting Gophers.
With just under 4 minutes remaining in the match, the Maroon and Gold earned their last corner kick of the day. The Gophers out-cornered Iowa State by a count of 5-2 for the match. Eckstrom drove the ball across the goal where sophomore defender Kylie Kallman redirected it with her head toward the goal. Clark was there to turn and fire the ball into the net from 4 yards out to give the Gophers a 3-0 victory. On the day, Minnesota outshot Iowa State 16-2. Redshirt freshman Cat Parkhill went the distance in goal, recording one save to earn the shutout.
Minnesota closes out its spring exhibition schedule at home on Saturday, April 18th. The Minnesota Spring Invite kicks off at 9am at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium when the Gophers take on Nebraska. The Huskers return 7 starters and 77% of their scoring from a team that recorded a 5th place finish in the Big XII Conference in 2008. Drake will play North Dakota State at 10:30am and NDSU will turn around and play Nebraska at 12:30pm. Minnesota will square off with Drake at 2pm to wrap up the event and the Gophers’ spring season. Drake returns 10 starters and 100% of their scoring from a team that finished in 3rd place in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2008. Admission to the event is free.
59:27 Shelander from Schwartz
66:18 Bethke from Eckstrom
86:09 Clark from Kallman and Eckstrom