Senior forward Sydney Squires dribbles the ball against Providence on Sept. 3 at Elizabeth Lyle-Robbie Stadium.
When Providence goalkeeper Shelby Hogan saved a shot off a free kick, she might’ve thought she was in the clear with under 30 seconds to go in the double overtime of a scoreless match on Sunday.
After stopping the shot, Hogan couldn’t corral the save, and Minnesota’s Maddie Gaffney got the rebound and curled a ball into the goal with around 20 seconds remaining in double overtime at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Gaffney’s make was a golden goal as Minnesota (3-1-2) defeated Providence (1-4-0) 1-0.
“It was awesome,” Gaffney said. “I haven’t been able to score. I haven’t scored in over a year. A lot of girls had to step up, and I just happened to step up on that certain instance.”
Gaffney deflected a shot by forward April Bockin, and the ball trickled past Hogan into the left corner of the net.
Assistant coach Krystle Seidel said she wasn’t surprised that Gaffney scored the game-winner.
“[Gaffney has] always been very good in front of goal,” Seidel said. “She was an attacker growing up, and so we converted her [into] a full-time outside back. But, one of her very special qualities is getting forward and getting on the goal.”
Minnesota outshot Providence 22-5. Providence did not record a shot during the second half nor the second overtime period. Sydney Squires, the Gophers’ leading goal scorer, had two shots, but none were on goal.
Goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen earned the shutout against the Friars. The freshman only had to make one save during the match.
Hogan made eight saves, including four in the second half. Gaffney said the team prepares for tougher goalkeepers like Hogan by creating different game plans.
“If she’s good in the air, we try to keep it low,” Gaffney said. “[The team adjusts] if she’s really good at defending corners and goalkeeping in the corners. Being able to figure out her qualities and being able to work around them is how we go about that.”
Minnesota’s last win in overtime came against Marquette in Milwaukee on Sep. 4, 2015. Seidel had a few words to motivate the team heading into overtime.
“‘We don’t walk out of here without a win,” she said. “Nobody’s going to tie us today.”
Bockin said Minnesota plays with a never-say-die attitude. The team plays a possession-oriented style that can occasionally be physical.
“We’re a smaller team, in general, but we don’t shy away from getting physical on the field,” Bockin said. “Big Ten is a very physical conference, so we’re used to it. We just have to hold our own and try to keep playing our game.”
Against Utah State on Friday, Gaffney wants the Gophers to use the whole field to their advantage offensively.
“What we’ll really focus on is using the width of the field and continuously moving it within the final third and taking good looks,” she said.
Seidel said this win is huge for the team.
“It would have been tough to come out of here with a loss [or] a tie, especially after the performances we put together,” she said. “We’re really happy that we were able to grind it out.”