Gophers offense silent no more

Minnesota netted seven goals this weekend and picked up its first two wins.

Nick Gerhardt

Minnesota created an offensive supernova as they exploded on the pitch for a combined seven goals against Providence and Dartmouth this weekend in the Nike Hypertherm Tournament in Hanover, N.H.

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when: 7 p.m. Friday
where: Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium

On Friday, the Gophers routed Providence 3-0 en route to their first victory of the season.

Minnesota (2-2 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) failed to score in the first half but came out firing in the second half.

“In the second half we came out knowing it was do or die,” junior midfielder Kaitlin Wagner said.

Wagner scored 1:35 in to the second stanza to put the Gophers in front.

Minnesota flourished in the second half as they continued to finish their opportunities.

Freshman Katie Bethke scored her first collegiate goal in the 80th minute to put the Gophers up 2-0. Minnesota added another goal four minutes later when a Friar deflected the ball into their goal to make the match 3-0.

“We’ve dominated the second half in every game and our kids kept fighting,” coach Mikki Denney Wright said.

The Gophers rattled off 22 shots in the game compared to just nine for Providence (0-3-1 overall, 0-0 Big East).

“We were pressing so hard and it paid off,” junior forward Lindsey Schwartz said.

The payoff poured into Sunday as Minnesota defeated Dartmouth (1-3 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) 4-1.

Schwartz netted the first goal of the match only two minutes into the contest as Minnesota continued to pressure its opponents into making mistakes.

“We’re constantly working to capitalize on mistakes and create chances,” Wagner said.

The Gophers sustained the Big Green attack as sophomore goalkeeper Chelsey Turner made four saves in the first half.

“She was outstanding; she made great decisions on when to come off her line,” Denney Wright said.

Turner made nine saves over the weekend and received the goalkeeping MVP award for her effort.

Minnesota opened the second half in dominating fashion as they scored three more goals.

Wagner put home her second goal of the tournament in the 51st minute to give the Gophers a 2-0 advantage. The two goals helped Wagner earn offensive MVP honors for the tournament.

Freshman Julie Rezac finished a cross from sophomore Dana Tripp in the 62nd minute to push the lead to 3-0. Freshman Molly Rouse added another goal in the 85th minute to put the score at 4-0.

Dartmouth got a goal back when Maggie Goldstein scored from 20 yards out in the 86th minute.

“We were disappointed to give up a late goal because the defense played so well,” Denney Wright said.

Minnesota blasted 13 shots on the afternoon and limited the Big Green to 11 shots.

The Gophers now have 78 shots on the season while their opponents have mustered just 52.

Denney Wright credited the fitness level and depth of her team as the catalysts for success because she can substitute players quickly and maintain a high level of pressure needed for their attacking style of play.

Minnesota had only scored one goal entering into the weekend tournament and the offensive outburst has players believing it can continue.

“It’s definitely something to be expected the rest of the season,” Wagner said.