Pair of wins give Gophers tournament tournament championship

The Minnesota soccer team (6-0-0) is off to the best start in school history thanks to senior forward Lindsey Schwartz âÄôs two goals that led the team to two wins in the Regina Moench Memorial Tournament. The Gophers defeated Creighton (4-2-0) 3-0 Sunday and Ohio (1-3-0) 2-0 Friday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Schwartz, the tournamentâÄôs offensive MVP , scored the winning goal against Ohio on a header in the box. The play was set up by a perfect centering pass from well outside the box by sophomore forward Molly Rouse , allowing Schwartz to float a header over OhioâÄôs goalkeeper. âÄúI was actually trying to flick it over to someone else but it ended up going into the goal,âÄù Schwartz said. SchwartzâÄôs second goal of the weekend, and third of the season , came against Creighton and gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead. This time she scored on a header in the box off a penalty kick by senior midfielder Kelsey Hood. The entire offense was busy throughout the weekend. Minnesota created numerous scoring chances in both games. âÄúWe didnâÄôt have that last year so itâÄôs great to see,âÄù Hood said. âÄúItâÄôs a huge step for us.âÄù Hood was also a large contributor to the teamâÄôs offensive production. She tallied an assist off a free kick in each game . MinnesotaâÄôs defense continued its season-long dominance and limited both Ohio and Creighton by keeping the ball in the offensive zone. Throughout the weekend, the defense surrendered only seven shots . âÄúI thought that this was their best performance,âÄù head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. âÄúThey had to deal with some pressure and had to organize some things.âÄù Sophomore defender Jennie Clark anchored the defense on her way to becoming the tournamentâÄôs defensive MVP. The defense made it easy for senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare to record her fourth and fifth shutouts of the season. Creighton, who came into the tournament undefeated, gave Dare her only test of the weekend on a breakaway shot. Aside from that, Dare only had to make one other save. Her goals against average decreased to a miniscule 0.17 for the season. In both games, Ohio and Creighton were able to pressure MinnesotaâÄôs players. But in both games, the Gophers were able to outlast the pressure and win comfortably. âÄúYou can run with us for a little while but itâÄôs hard to run with us for 90 minutes,âÄù Denney Wright said. Aside from Schwartz and Hood, Minnesota had a goal from sophomore forward Katie Bethke against Ohio and goals from freshman forward Tamara Strahota and Clark against Creighton. Rouse was able to extend her assist-per-game streak to five games when she set up SchwartzâÄôs goal, but it came to an end Sunday. Despite the dominant performance for the Gophers, Denney Wright believes there is still room for improvement. âÄúIâÄôm happy weâÄôre creating the chances and that our kids are continuing to focus on finishing,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúWe still need to work on finishing chances.âÄù