Big Ten Play Begins With 1-0 Win over Iowa With less than 10:00 minuntes to play, Molly Rouse scored the game-winner.
St. Paul, Minn. - It appeared late in the second half that the game may be headed to overtime, but with less than 7:00 minutes to play, Molly Rouse (Cambridge, Minn.) fired off the game-winner, giving the University of Minnesota soccer team a 1-0 victory over guest Iowa this evening (Sept. 24).
"Iowa is a fantastic team, I was just very proud of my team," head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. "This was the first time all season you saw us play a consistent 90 (minutes). You know it was really fun to see their level of competition and their excitement."
In the Big Ten season opener for both teams, fans at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium watched as a defensive battle played out in front of them. A defensive first half saw just five shots on goal for Minnesota (7-2-1) and just one for Iowa (7-3-0).
The second half saw similar play with the Golden Gophers landing only four shots on net, against just two from the Hawkeyes.
The match was back and forth, with each offense taking their turn with possession in opposing territory. However, time-after-time the defenses came up with big plays to limit the scoring chances. The Golden Gopher backline of Jennie Clark (Norwalk, Iowa), Kylie Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.) and Josie Solie (Mahtomedi, Minn.) was stout all night, rarely letting the Hawkeye offense behind them.
On the occasion that Iowa was able to get open for a shot, goalkeeper Cat Parkhill (Apple Valley, Minn.) made sure that they were kept off the board, coming up with three big-time saves on the night.
With time ticking down, and the teams struggling to gain a consistent advantage, the Golden Gophers took their turn in the Hawkeye zone. A long pass across the field found Rouse at the top of the 18-yard box. After a dribble away from a defender, Rouse fired off a shot to the far post that snuck inside the left up-right to put the Golden Gophers ahead 1-0.
"I just took a touch to the outside," Rouse said. "I saw a couple defenders on the inside, so I just tried to take a touch around that, and then I tried to hit it far post and luckily it went in."
Rouse finished with a game high four shots on the night, making good on her final attempt. The goal was her third of the year and was assisted on by Shari Eckstrom (Champlain Park, Minn.). It was also her first game-winner of the season and first goal since she nabbed two on Sept. 6 in the win over North Dakota State.
Rouse's four shots were part of a 17-shot effort by the Golden Gophers, while they held the Hawkeyes to just three total shots in the first half and only eight for the entire game. This marks the seventh time in 10 matches this season where Minnesota has taken at least 15 shots. The Golden Gophers also held a 4-to-1 advantage in corner kicks tonight, the third straight game in which they led the category.
"Iowa is a fantastic defensive team, so to break them down takes a lot," Denney Wright said. "I thought we had a couple chances early on, but I didn't think we really started to break them down until the end of the second half. But give them credit, it was just a great battle."
Minnesota begins the Big Ten season 1-0 for the first time since 2007, and for just the second time since 2001. They also extend their home unbeaten streak to 18 straight matches without a loss.
They now must hit the road as they travel to Illinois on Sunday, Sept. 27 for a 1:00 p.m. match, which will be aired live on Big Ten Network. The Illini are 5-3-1 on the season. Last season Minnesota beat Illinois 1-0 in St. Paul.