Gophers earn one point in weekend

Minnesota lost to PSU on Friday but tied OSU on Saturday.

Ben Gotz

In two close matches at home over the weekend, the Gophers weren’t able to come up with a victory.

After losing by one goal to Penn State on Friday, the team recorded its first tie of the season Sunday against Ohio State.

On Friday, for the first 90 minutes, the Gophers (6-6-1, 3-3-1 Big Ten) played a close game against No. 7 Penn State. But in the end, just one mistake prevented the team from pulling off an upset against the Nittany Lions.

The Gophers played hard enough defensively and didn’t give up any goals to the high-scoring Penn State offense. But an early miscommunication, which resulted in an own goal, proved to be the difference in the 1-0 loss.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” head coach Stefanie Golan said. “We felt like we were right there with them.”

The Gophers’ defenders were dealing with Penn State’s aggressive forwards early in the game when a back pass from sophomore defender Rashida Beal to goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs found its way into the net. The ball initially looked like it would be swallowed up, but it cut sharply — possibly due to the wind — and Hobbs sprinted to catch it but came up inches short.

“It was just a miscommunication between the back pass and the keeper,” senior defender Becca Roberts said. “Nothing you can do about it. It happens.”

Despite the own goal, the Gophers held Penn State’s forwards in check. One big reason why was junior defender Haley Helverson, who chased down several Penn State forwards in the open field and took away several opportunities.

“She was player of the match, for sure,” Golan said. “She faces a lot of the team’s best attacking players. The kid that she was up against today, [Frannie Crouse], she did outstanding against. [Crouse] creates a lot of opportunities for them, a lot of looks, and she wasn’t able to do it today.”

The Gophers played another tight game on Sunday against Ohio State. And despite the score staying low, both teams had multiple chances to secure the victory late in regulation and in overtime.

“That’s part of the game,” Schultz said. “We just have to keep putting our chances away.”

Senior forward Olivia Schultz put the Gophers ahead early after one-touching a cross from Helverson. The Buckeyes did not let up, however, and they tied the game late in the first half off a deflection from a corner kick.

Hobbs often prevented her team from losing, making six of her nine saves in the first 10-minute overtime period.

“She probably saved our team multiple times,” Schultz said. “I’m really thankful for that.”

After the game, Hobbs said she knew that one slip-up in overtime could be the clincher, and she did her best to keep her team in the match.

“I knew it was overtime. It was the golden goal, and I just had to stay solid,” Hobbs said.

The Gophers won’t be able to analyze this weekend’s results for long, as they have a short turnaround before playing Nebraska at home on Thursday.

“We had a few opportunities [and] couldn’t capitalize,” Hobbs said, “but we have to move forward to Thursday now.”