Soccer sweeps weekend

Minnesota defeated Iowa and Nebraska on the road to stay atop the Big Ten.

Gophers forward Simone Kolander fights for the ball at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 25.

Alex Tuthill-Preus, Daily File Photo

Gophers forward Simone Kolander fights for the ball at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 25.

by Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers soccer team recorded its fourth weekend sweep of the season with a 3-0 win Thursday at Nebraska and a 2-0 win Sunday at Iowa.
No. 14 Minnesota (11-2-2, 6-1 Big Ten) beat the Cornhuskers 3-0 Thursday, led by two first-half goals from junior forward Simone Kolander.
Kolander’s first goal came on a penalty kick after she was fouled inside the box in the seventh minute.
The Gophers went up 2-0 in the 29th minute on Kolander’s second goal of the game, which was assisted by sophomore forward Sydney Squires.
Minnesota scored its third and final goal of the game in the 76th minute, when Squires shot at an empty net after the Nebraska goalkeeper came out of the box to put Minnesota ahead 3-0.
Co-captain Kolander said after the game Thursday that she was pleased with the offensive performance, especially in wet field conditions.
“We were able to find our midfielders and our forwards and play through them,” Kolander said. “The field was wet, so [Nebraska was] sliding all over the field, and we were able to take advantage of that … we were able to connect a lot of passes and get in behind them.”
On defense, Minnesota junior goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs made five saves in the game, and the team recorded a shutout.
“The back four have been organized and are doing a great job of making it tough for teams to get in and get quality looks against us,” Minnesota head coach Stefanie Golan said. “Our midfield and our forwards have been strong in the press to where teams don’t have a chance to really build.”
The Gophers finished the weekend sweep by beating the Hawkeyes 2-0 on Sunday.
After a scoreless first half, Minnesota took a 1-0 lead on Kolander’s team-leading 10th goal of the season in the 56th minute with an assist from freshman forward April Bockin.
The assist was Bockin’s fourth of the season, tied for the most on the team.
The Gophers added a late goal in the 87th minute when redshirt senior forward Taylor Stainbrook scored on an assist from junior midfielder Josee Stiever to secure the 2-0 win.
Golan said the Gophers needed to make adjustments at the half due to Iowa’s style of play. The field dimensions are smaller in Iowa, and the Hawkeyes formation is defensively focused.
“[They play with] a lot of numbers behind the ball, and there isn’t a lot of room to be able to play and to be able to do what we want,” Golan said. “I thought our team played pretty well in the second half, and we found a way to win.”
The Gophers offensive attack outshot Iowa 24-7, led by Squires with four shots. Six different Minnesota players had three shots each. 
“We were looking just to exploit what we do well — we take it down the end lines and try to cross it back,” Stainbrook said. “A lot of different people got shots … so we exploited [what] we needed to.”