Eight different Gophers players tallied points on Sunday as the No. 16 Minnesota women's soccer team contributed its highest offensive production since August in a 4-1 win over Purdue at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
"I thought it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, we really struggled to play our brand of soccer, and in the second half we were a completely different team," Minnesota head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. "The second half showed how we can play soccer. We are certainly talented enough, experienced enough to do that, and I was so proud of our group for the way they responded."
It truly was a tale of two halves for the Gophers, whose defense kept the Boilermakers off the scoreboard in the first half before an offensive explosion by Minnesota in the second stanza. The Boilermakers outshot Minnesota 6-5 in the first half but couldn't find a way to beat sophomore goalkeeper Cat Parkhill.
Parkhill, who made six total saves in the winning effort, was aided by a Minnesota defense bolstered by the return of senior center back Jennie Clark, who missed over a month of action with a broken collarbone. With Clark back in action, an already stoic Gophers defense was able to shut down the Boilermakers in the first half before Minnesota's offense found its stride in the second half.
With four goals in the second half, Minnesota (10-2-2 overall, 2-1-1 Big Ten) recorded its highest offensive numbers since tallying seven goals against Belmont on Aug. 31 - coincidentally the same game in which Clark suffered the injury that kept her out of the Gophers lineup until Sunday.
Senior midfielder Angie Olson scored her first goal of the season at the 62:00 mark when she deposited a corner kick from junior midfielder Shari Eckstrom into the far side of the net. 33 seconds later, Eckstrom made it 2-0 Minnesota after the midfielder made a diving strike off a cross from senior midfielder Julie Rezac that beat Carianne Betts in goal for the Boilermakers. Junior forward Tamara Strahota also earned an assist on the score, which occurred at 62:33.
Just over 20 minutes later, the Gophers rattled off another pair of goals in under a minute starting with senior midfielder Katie Bethke's third of the year at 84:30 - a looping kick over Betts from just outside the 18-yard box. Senior midfielders Molly Rouse and Kylie Kallman were credited with assists, snapping Kallman's four game point drought. The duo of Rouse and Kallman would meet up again 58 seconds later when Rouse powered a low strike in for her fifth of the season at 85:28. Kallman earned her second assist of the night on the goal while Clark tallied her first assist and first point of the season in her first game back from injury.
Purdue's Katie Leinert spoiled Parkhill's shutout aspirations in the 87th minute when she snuck a low line drive in for the Gophers only blemish on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota outshot the Boilermakers 15-11 and held a 9-6 advantage on corners in the winning effort.
The Gophers returns to action next weekend with a Big Ten road trip to Penn State on Friday and Ohio State on Sunday.