Kaitlin Wagner and Molly Rouse each scored goals as the University of Minnesota women’s soccer team defeated Ohio State by a 2-0 score Sunday afternoon in Columbus. The win for the Gophers gives the team its fifth conference victory and moves their overall record to 15-2-0. The Buckeyes fall to 7-7-2 overall and 4-3-0 in conference play.
“Today was an outstanding road victory for our team. Championship teams have to be able to win on the road in hostile environments and that’s what we were able to do today,” head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “Ohio State was the only remaining team in the Big Ten that this senior group had not beaten during their careers. This win was for our seniors.”
Wagner netted her fourth goal of the season off a free kick opportunity in the 18th minute to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead. Wagner’s hooking shot found its way past OSU goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner, off the inside of the near post and into the net.
“Shari [Eckstrom] and I practice free kicks from that exact spot in practice almost every day. Sometimes the keeper leaves the near post open, so I was aiming for that,” Wagner said. “We knew that scoring first was important and we wanted to set the tone for the game.”
On Minnesota’s second goal, Lindsey Schwartz sent a high ball to the far side of the goalmouth after Minnesota earned a corner kick at the 66:44 mark. Kylie Kallman got on the end of the Schwartz lob and reversed the ball with a header to the near side. Molly Rouse buried Kallman’s pass with a strike that beat a screened Baumgardner to give the Gophers a 2-0 cushion.
Led by Kylie Kallman, Jennie Clark and Krystle Kallman, the Minnesota defense helped secure their program-record 13th shutout of the season through 17 matches.
In an intriguing series of events with just under 15:00 left in the contest, the Gophers drew a red card during a scramble in the box, forcing the team to play the last minutes of the game a player short.
Lindsey Dare made a spectacular save on a penalty kick in the waning minutes and the Minnesota defense clamped down to give the senior from Apple Valley her school record 13th shutout of the season.
“To go down a player and still control the match showed a lot of maturity by our group,” Denney Wright said.
After the team reorganized in the middle following the hard red, the Gophers were able to pick up their level of play and were able to control play.
“It was a little chaotic at first, but once we reorganized, it didn’t even feel like we were a player short,” Wagner said.
The Gophers return to the Twin Cities where they will take on Wisconsin and Northwestern next weekend at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.