Milwaukee, Wis. - The University of Minnesota soccer team battled through a tough second half this evening (Sept. 11) and held on to earn a 3-2 win over host Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After going up 3-1 in the second frame, the Golden Gophers held on after a UWM penalty kick for the win.
"We scored three brilliant goals tonight," head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. "We created some really exciting opportunities, and our attack started to gain some rhythm as the game went on. They were great goals."
Carrying a one goal lead out of halftime, the Golden Gophers watched as the Panthers tied the match less than 10 minutes into the second half. However, after watching Milwaukee pull even at 1-1, Katie Bethke (Eau Claire, Wis.) - who scored the Golden Gophers first goal - scored her second goal of the match to give her squad their second lead of the match at 2-1.
Once they gained the 2-1 lead, Minnesota's Julie Rezac (Eden Prairie, Minn.) tacked on her first goal of the season, and the Golden Gophers third of the match. At the 66:07 mark, Minnesota led 3-1. After a penalty kick by the Panthers, Rezac's goal would go on to stand as the game-winner for the Golden Gophers. It was just the second game-winning goal of Rezac's career.
The Golden Gophers entered the match with a 3-1-1 record, riding a three match unbeaten streak. They leave with the streak at four, and win in back-to-back matches for the first time on the young season.
Cat Parkhill (Apple Valley, Minn.) was stellar in the net for the Golden Gophers, stopping a career high 10 shots to preserve the win. Parkhill's previous career high came in the 0-0 2OT tie against Tennessee where she stopped three shots.
The lone first half goal came courtesy of Bethke, when she first added to her team leading total. She now has five goals to pace the field. The junior forward wasted little time in getting the Golden Gophers on the board as she scored the match's first goal in just the fifth minute. From about 15 yards out, Bethke fired the shot inside the far post.
The Golden Gophers outshot the Panthers 6-to-5 in the period and goalkeeper Parkhill tied her career high with three saves in the first 45:00 minutes. For the match, the Golden Gophers were outshot 22-to-12 but made the most of their five shots on goal, seeing three hit the back of the net.
"We had some really exciting opportunities tonight," Denney Wright said. "It was a very exciting final 20 minutes. I'm proud of this group and am looking forward to our upcoming games.
Up next for the Golden Gophers are the Marquette Golden Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 2:15 p.m. Countering Minnesota's 4-1-1 mark, the Golden Eagles enter at 4-2-0.