Gophers split games in Wisconsin road trip

The Minnesota soccer team beat UW-Milwaukee, but fell to Marquette.

by Brittany Storoz

No. 23 Minnesota (4-2-1) took advantage of quality opportunities that secured its 3-2 victory over UW-Milwaukee (2-4-2) on Friday, despite the stat sheet favoring the Panthers. UW-Milwaukee tested the character of MinnesotaâÄôs redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cat Parkhill with offensive attacks that only grew stronger as the game continued. The Panthers handed the Gophers more shots (22) and shots on goal (12) than any other opponent this season. âÄúThey were kind of playing chicken chase so they were able to get in behind us a couple times,âÄù Parkhill said. âÄúYou just try to get into a zone and donâÄôt really let the pressure get to you.âÄù Parkhill responded with 10 saves âÄî a career high that more than doubled her total for the season. Junior forward Katie Bethke struck early against UWâÄîMilwaukee goalkeeper Leslie Deebach , firing a 15-yard kick in the fifth minute for the first goal of the game. The Panthers didnâÄôt answer until the second half when junior Sarah Talbert finished off a cross from senior Kate Megna in the 53rd minute to tie the score. Bethke claimed another goal in the second half after knocking in a cross from sophomore Shari Eckstrom to bring the Gophers back into the lead. Bethke, who finished the 2008 season with just four goals , currently leads the team in goals with five . âÄúSheâÄôs always been a great playmaker, but now sheâÄôs just dedicated to being a great goal scorer,âÄù head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. âÄúSheâÄôs been dangerous in every game, and incredibly dangerous up top.âÄù Junior Julie Rezac also put herself on the board for the Gophers after an assist from fellow junior Angie Olson . This was RezacâÄôs first goal of the season and proved to be the game-winner. âÄúIt was 3-1 and we had a lot more quality chances than Milwaukee had,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúWe were definitely in control of the game and dictated play the entire time. I felt we protected the lead very, very well.âÄù While RezacâÄôs goal was the last for Minnesota, UWâÄîMilwaukee continued to try to even the score in the final minutes of the game. A penalty kick by sophomore Sarah Hagen in the 68th minute brought the Panthers within one, but they failed to settle the score as the Gophers left with a victory.

Narrow loss to Marquette

Coming off its win against UW-Milwaukee, Minnesota struggled through a 1-0 loss to Marquette (5-2-0) on Sunday. The Gophers posed a couple of threats in the first half for MarquetteâÄôs sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Kulla with four shots on goal, but Kulla made sure Minnesota went into halftime scoreless. Minnesota also kept the Golden Eagles shut out for the first half, but a breakthrough for Marquette came in the 49th minute when senior Becky Ryan scored the lone goal of the game. Junior Julia Victor assisted Ryan for the game winning goal. âÄúI definitely would say the fatigue set into our legs, but they just outplayed us today,âÄù Bethke said. âÄúAny time you have a pretty tough game Friday itâÄôs going to take a bunch out of you, but we are a Sunday team and always come to battle on Sundays.âÄù Minnesota troubled Marquette with only one shot for the remainder of the game, unable to gain any momentum. Kulla didnâÄôt have to post any saves in the second half to secure the shutout as the Gophers didnâÄôt put a shot on net. Parkhill made three saves in the second half to help keep the Gophers in the game. âÄúWe didnâÄôt execute the way we wanted to the second half, no question about it,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúItâÄôs just a matter of who finishes their chances. They finished their chance and we didnâÄôt.âÄù Minnesota returns home next weekend to host the Minnesota Gold Classic before heading into conference matchups.