Champaign, Ill. - After Illinois scored to tie the game at 2-2 early in the second half, the University of Minnesota Soccer team fought through a scoreless final 60:00 minutes of action, before settling for the tie today (Sept,. 27).
Olivia Bagnall (Lakeville, Minn.) and Tamara Strahota (Burnsville, Minn.) each scored for Minnesota (7-2-2, 1-0-1) who saw their six-game Big Ten winning streak come to a halt with the tie. Illinois (5-3-2, 0-0-1) meanwhile improves to 6-1-0 all-time at home against the Golden Gophers, with Minnesota's only win coming in the 1997 season.
After a 1-1 first half, the second half began with two scores in a span of three minutes. Unfortunately for each team, though, they split the goals. The Golden Gophers struck in the first minute of the half with Strahota scoring her second of the year off a pass from Shari Eckstrom (Brooklyn Park, Minn.). The assist was the fourth of the season for Eckstrom, moving her into to the team lead. It was the Golden Gophers' first lead of the game, and it was short lived.
After the quick strike from Minnesota, Illinois answered right back with a goal in the 48th minute to tie the game again. The teams settled down after the second goal, and play in the second half reverted back more like that of the first with defense being the story.
Illinois struck first in the game, becoming the first team in 2009 to score on Minnesota in the first half. In the 16th minute, the Illini took their first lead of the game, scoring from just inside the box.
The Golden Gophers were not down for long, though, as Bagnall answered in the 34th minute. The goal was the first of her career for Bagnall, making her the 10th different Golden Gopher to find the net this season. A corner kick from Katie Bethke (Eau Claire, Wis.) began the play, and a header by Kylie Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.) sent the goal to Bagnall.
"It was awesome," Bagnall said of her first career goal. "It felt really great to contribute in that way and help the team. But Katie (Bethke) got it all started with the corner, and Kylie (Kallman) did a great job getting it to me."
With the helper on the play, Bethke improved her career assist mark to 14, which moves her into a tie for 10th place on the Golden Gopher's career assist chart, tying with Megan Johnson (1996-99) and Claire Grimwood (2005-08).
Minnesota led in shots for the fourth straight game, holding a 16-to-11 edge. The Golden Gophers outshot the Illini 7-to-2 in the first half, but the two teams played even the remainder of the way. Minnesota also won the corner kick battle 11-to-7, which included an 8-to-1 mark in the first half.
The Golden Gophers stay on the road, and in the Big Ten, for their next match-up, coming on Thursday Oct. 1. Minnesota travels to Wisconsin for the mid-week Border Battle tilt at 7:00 pm. Then on Sunday, Oct. 4, Minnesota returns home to host South Dakota in nonconference action.