Minnesota continues strong start out East

Paul Cordes

Minnesota’s soccer team is coming home undefeated after its first road trip of the season.

The Gophers took their offensive attack to Providence, R.I., for the Brown Classic and finished the weekend with a 1-0 win against Army and a 2-2 tie in double overtime against Brown.

Minnesota faced an aggressive Army team on Friday but the Gophers’ offense proved too much for the Knights. Minnesota out-shot Army 25-15 by putting pressure on the Knights right from the start.

Coach Mikki Denney Wright was impressed with the play of her team.

“We really came out strong against Army,” she said. “We were able to put a lot of pressure on them the whole game. We felt good about our performance on Friday.”

The constant pressure gave sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Wagner what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 11th minute.

“It was kind of a weird goal,” Wagner said. “Claire (Grimwood) bounced it in and it kind of deflected off an Army defender and it found its way into the goal.”

That one goal was all freshman goalkeeper Chelsey Turner needed.

In just her second start of the year, Turner recorded the first shutout of her career with eight saves, including a crucial one in the 40th minute. After a Knights midfielder got behind the Gophers’ defense, she passed the ball to the center of the field where a teammate headed the ball toward the net but Turner made the save.

“I just go out to every game and try to be as aggressive as I can,” she said. “And it worked well for me and our defense as well on Friday.”

Minnesota then went up against tournament host Brown on Sunday and tied the Bears 2-2 in double overtime.

The Gophers took the first lead of the game on sophomore forward Lindsey Schwartz’s third goal of the season in the 14th minute. Brown came back with two goals at the 45th and 51st minutes to take the 2-1 lead.

Minnesota fought back though, and sophomore midfielder Kelsey Hood’s goal in the 61st minute tied the game. Freshman forward Elena Fruci had the assist on both goals.

“(Brown) put a ton of pressure on us from the very beginning,” Denney Wright said. “They were really tough on their home turf but I was proud of the fact that our girls battled back from being down one in the second half.”

Redshirt sophomore Lindsey Dare got the start in goal against Brown and got more than she expected from the Bears’ offense.

“We weren’t expecting them to come out with the pressure that they did,” Dare said. “Especially after watching them play against Marist.”

Brown came out with a different fire in them after its 2-1 loss to Marist on its home field Friday. Against the Gophers, the Bears scored two goals on 35 shots, 17 of which were on goal. Dare made 15 saves, tying the school record set by Teresa O’Hearn in 1994 against Ohio State.

“They put so much pressure on us the whole game,” Dare said. “So I just did all that I could and I have to give a lot of credit to the defense too for the effort that they gave today.”

Going 1-0-1 in the tournament was big for Minnesota, Denney Wright said.

“I can’t really remember the last time that we came away from a non-conference tournament undefeated,” she said. “So it’s huge to be able to do this well, especially against regionally ranked teams like this.”