Gophers win both matches on East Coast road trip

April Bockin scored her second goal of the season in Minnesota’s 3-1 victory.

Midfielder Molly Fiedler kicks the ball during the Gophers match against Utah State at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sept. 8.

Image by Easton Green

Midfielder Molly Fiedler kicks the ball during the Gophers’ match against Utah State at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sept. 8.

by Erik Nelson

The Gophers women’s soccer team had two games over the weekend, both on the East Coast.

Head coach Stefanie Golan said Minnesota expended a lot of energy to win against Rutgers on Friday. On Sunday, the head coach was happy she didn’t tire her players mentally or physically.

Minnesota (7-2-3, 3-1-1) defeated Maryland (7-3-2, 1-3-1) in College Park, Maryland on Sunday 3-1 for its second consecutive win. Before this weekend, the Gophers had not won a game on the road. Now, the team has two road victories in a span of three days.

“To win in a very efficient way… our team has a lot of guts,” Golan said.

Midfielder Molly Fiedler said that before the game, Minnesota’s mindset was to play the Minnesota style, which emphasizes a high press and ball possession.

“When we play our best, we can beat anyone in the country,” Fiedler said. “We knew that we could get a [favorable] result.”

Fiedler scored her first career-goal in the seventh minute to open the scoring. The ball hit the crossbar, then bounced over the goal line. Nikki Albrecht and Julianna Gernes recorded assists. 

Fiedler said she did not immediately notice the ball had entered the net, but that it felt great to score her first goal.

“It was kind of hard to see it go in [on video replay],” Fiedler said. “We’ve been creating a lot of chances. To finally [score] gives me the confidence that I can continue [to score goals].”

In the 11th minute, midfielder Megan Koenig scored her second goal of the season to extend Minnesota’s lead to 2-0. Gernes recorded her second assist of the game and the season.

Koenig said it is vital for a team to score and get the lead right away. Minnesota has scored first in its last three games. 

“It puts the other team on their heels. It breaks their confidence and helps our confidence,” Koenig said. “[A lead] sets the tone that [says], ‘We’re coming out to play, and we’re coming out to compete.'”

Maryland cut Minnesota’s lead in half in the 13th minute when Madison Turner beat goalkeeper Kailee Sharp for an unassisted goal, her third of the season. 

Koenig thinks the team felt a little shaky after giving up the goal. The score was 2-1 in favor of Minnesota at halftime.

“Once we settled back in, our goal was to settle down and play our game,” Koenig said. “That’s what makes us great.”

Forward April Bockin scored the game-winner in the 67th minute. The score was her second goal of the season. Koenig earned her second assist of the season.

Golan said winning both games this weekend will strengthen Minnesota heading into next weekend, when the Gophers will play Indiana, then Purdue, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

“We made [ground] up in the Big Ten standings,” Golan said. “It’s hard to win games in the Big Ten, and it’s much harder to win them on the road. Coming back with six points [in the standings] from a road swing is a huge confidence booster for the team.”