Gophers win, lose on Mich. trip

Emily Wickstrom

For the first time this season, Minnesota soccer coach Mikki Denney Wright said she was disappointed with her team’s effort.

The Gophers played uninspired soccer on Friday in a 1-0 loss to Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., but rebounded on Sunday to beat Michigan 1-0 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

It was Minnesota’s 10th and 11th straight one-goal games of the season.

“On Friday we were disappointed with our performance,” Denney Wright said. “We didn’t play with the same heart we normally do.

“But our kids came out (on Sunday) and played physical Minnesota soccer.”

After a scoreless first half against the Wolverines, the Gophers (9-6-2, 6-3-0 Big Ten) had various chances to score, including a breakaway by Becky Dellaria.

Freshman Lindsey Schwartz broke the scoring drought in the 74th minute. Nicki Burnie threw the ball in to Schwartz, who beat a Wolverines defender and fired a shot from 25 yards. The shot found the upper corner of the goal for the game-winner.

“I was just trying to take a shot to get it on goal,” Schwartz said. “But it went in.

“We defended really well as a team which opened up our attack.”

The goal was the Gophers first in three games after being held scoreless by the Spartans and Ohio State last Sunday.

Despite playing well offensively and out-shooting the Wolverines 11-9, Denney Wright said Minnesota’s defense was the most impressive.

Gophers’ goalie Molly Schneider picked up her seventh shutout of the year with two saves.

Michigan’s leading scorer Melissa Dobbyn, who is second in the Big Ten in scoring points and averages 4.5 chances on goal a game, was held to just one shot – largely due to the play of defender Burnie.

“She’s just a good player,” Burnie said of Dobbyn. “She kept moving around and has a rocket for a shot. Our back line played great (to stop her).

“It was effort that won the game.”

But on Friday, Gophers’ players said it was effort that was lacking.

“None of our players really had good performances – nothing clicked,” Denney Wright said. “Michigan State defended really well. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the Big Ten. But we didn’t come out and play.”

The Gophers were out-shot 16-11, but had nine shots on goal.

The Spartans scored in the game’s 15th minute when Nina Mastracci lobbed the ball high into Minnesota’s goal box. Schneider played the ball but bobbled it, and Dana Voorheis scored on the rebound.

“We were looking to pick up two wins (this weekend),” Burnie said. “But after Friday’s game I think it was a big boost to win again.”