Minnesota wins pair of border battles

The Gophers battled to a 2-1 overtime victory against Wisconsin, then cruised to a 9-0 win over South Dakota.

Brittany Storoz

Minnesota stole a late win in overtime from Wisconsin on Thursday before downing South Dakota on Sunday in a game that threatened to break school records. The Gophers (9-2-2 overall, 2-0-1 Big Ten ) fought a long battle at Wisconsin (5-5-2, 1-1-1) on Thursday, waiting out a 75 minute weather delay only to play an extra 10 minutes of overtime. Knotted up in a 1-1 with just 1:54 left in overtime , the Badgers made a crucial mistake of taking down freshman midfielder Marissa Price inside the box. Junior forward Katie Bethke took the ensuing penalty kick and beat Wisconsin redshirt junior goalkeeper Michele Dalton to give the Gophers a 2-1 victory. Bethke, who gave most of the credit to Price, said the goal was relieving, but the poor weather conditions added extra pressure to the shot. Regulation play was also nerve wracking for the Gophers as the Badgers scored the first goal that went unanswered into halftime. Sophomore midfielder Meghan Flannery put away a corner kick in the 24th minute of play that gave Minnesota its first halftime deficit all season. This, paired with WisconsinâÄôs habit of dominating second-half scoring, could have spelled trouble for the Gophers, but head coach Mikki Denney Wright said the deficit made them even more relentless. âÄúThey donâÄôt hang their heads when they get scored on first,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúIllinois scored first as well, and I think it almost ignites them a little bit.âÄù Junior forward Angie Olson started the second half by matching WisconsinâÄôs goal in the 50th minute. An unassisted 20-yard shot flew past Dalton âÄî the last score in regulation. Dalton made eight saves during the game, while redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cat Parkhill made two for the Gophers. MinnesotaâÄôs win marked the first home loss for Wisconsin this season, and evened the overall record between the teams to 10-10. âÄúWisconsin hadnâÄôt been beaten at home, we had a weather delay, the surface was incredibly wet, we were against a big time win, they scored on us first,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúAnd our team battled all that adversity to win the game.âÄù Another border-battle victory The second border battle of the weekend resulted in a 9-0 victory for Minnesota over South Dakota (3-7-1) and was just shy of being a record-breaking game for the Gophers. The nine goals were the fourth highest ever in school history and the highest since 1996 . It also matched the largest losing margin for the Coyotes this season. Prior to the game, Denney Wright said it was important to perform well here to keep themselves in contention for the NCAA tournament. While the Gophers have had trouble finishing on their goal-scoring opportunities against other opponents this season, they were able to regroup and fine tune strategies here before continuing Big Ten play. âÄúI thought it was good for us just to rehearse execution in the final third,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúWe had a lot of people contribute and thatâÄôs really important.âÄù Bethke lead the attack, tallying four of the nine goals , a feat that also hasnâÄôt been achieved since Erin Hussey did it in 1996 . Bethke now has 11 goals for the season. âÄúI didnâÄôt know that was a record or anything obviously, but âĦ [itâÄôs] whoeverâÄôs on the end of it,âÄù Bethke said. âÄúIt just happened to be me on some of them.âÄù Also having a multi-goal game was freshman midfielder Olivia Bagnall, who opened scoring for the Gophers in the first half with a pair of goals in the 11th and 15th minutes of play. While the Gophers recorded a season-high for shots on goal (19), the Coyotes squeezed in just one shot during the second half when Minnesota started making more substitutions. Coyotes sophomore goalkeeper Taura Truba made 10 saves, while Parkhill and sophomore goalkeeper Katie Roberts didnâÄôt have to make any. The Gophers will continue Big Ten play against Purdue, whoâÄôs tied atop the Big Ten with the Gophers , on the road Sunday, Oct. 11.