The University of Minnesota soccer team defeated South Dakota State, 2-1, in their final non-conference game of the season on Sunday in Brookings, S.D. Kelsey Hood had a goal and an assist for a career-high three points to lead Minnesota on the attack. Kaitlin Wagner had two assists and Lindsey Schwartz scored the game-winner in the 68th minute as the Golden Gophers improved to 8-7-1 on the year. Lindsey Dare made five saves to improve to 6-2-1 on the year.
The Gophers established their attack early on against the Jackrabbits and finished the game with a 23-18 advantage in shots. Schwartz had a game-high six shots, while Hood, Clare Grimwood and Marti Klinsing each had three apiece as the Maroon and Gold caused problems on the offensive end throughout the match. The Gophers generated nine corner kick opportunities to SDSU’s five, with both of their goals coming off corners.
Wagner and Lyndsey Mueller led a tremendous overall effort by Minnesota’s back line and made things difficult for the SDSU forwards all game. Dare had another solid performance between the posts in limiting the opposition to one goal or fewer for the eighth time in her nine starts this season.
Minnesota’s first goal came off a corner kick opportunity in the 23rd minute. Wagner took the corner from the left side and served the ball into the box about 10 yards out. Hood scored on a fantastic header to the top left corner of the net to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
South Dakota State tied the game in the 38th minute on an unassisted goal by Kellyn Farrell. Farrell took the ball down the right sideline and cut to middle of the field before striking a shot from the top of the box that found the back of the net to tie the score at one apiece.
The Gophers had a chance to go back ahead with a corner kick opportunity in the 43rd minute. After the ball was served into the box, a scramble developed in front of the net. Grimwood got a foot on it but her shot went off the crossbar, sending the two teams into the break in a 1-1 deadlock.
Minnesota continued to pressure SDSU in the second half and took advantage of another corner kick opportunity in the 68th minute to take the lead. Wagner again took the corner from the left side and crossed the ball in. Hood headed the ball in the direction of the net, and Schwartz deflected it in to give the Gophers a 2-1 advantage.
Schwartz had a chance to extend Minnesota’s lead in the 75th minute when she got out on a breakaway. The SDSU goalkeeper was able to make the save, however, to keep the game close.
The Jackrabbits pressed to find the equalizer and threatened to tie the game in the final two minutes with a scramble in front of the net, but the Minnesota defense held strong to preserve the lead and come away with a hard-fought victory.
The Golden Gophers return to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium next weekend with a couple of pivotal Big Ten games against Michigan and Michigan State. Minnesota currently sits in 10th place in the conference standings and needs to finish eighth to advance to the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines and Spartans are the two teams directly ahead of them in the league standings. Friday’s match against Michigan will begin at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s match against MSU kicks off at 1 p.m.