Penn State, Ohio State team up to sweep Gophers soccer team

The Gophers lost 8-1 to the Lions before losing 1-0 in overtime to the Buckeyes.

Adam Fink

Play for pride and show the Big Ten conference the talent of Minnesota’s soccer team.

Those are the words Gophers co-captain Amanda McMahon used to describe the team’s beliefs after suffering a 8-1 loss to No. 11 Penn State and a 1-0 overtime defeat to Ohio State over the weekend, diminishing Minnesota’s Big Ten tournament chances.

“We want to show the rest of the conference we can play,” McMahon said. “There is still a chance we could make the tournament.”

The Gophers (5-8-2, 2-6-1 Big Ten) are in 10th place in the conference.

Only the top eight teams make the Big Ten tournament beginning Nov. 6 in Madison, Wis.

On Sunday, the Gophers rebounded from a rout by the Lions to force overtime against the 21st-ranked Buckeyes.

Ohio State junior Kathy Fulk scored the winning goal in the 96th minute after receiving a pass approximately five yards to the right side of the net.

Marni Prall, who made four saves in the contest, couldn’t stop the goal from going in.

“We were disorganized on the play,” Gophers coach Barbara Wickstrand said. “We showed character (Sunday) but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”

Wickstrand was pleased with Sunday’s effort from McMahon and Ohio native Hilary Stowell.

In addition, the fourth-year coach felt the rest of the players were able to put Friday’s loss out of their minds.

For the contest, Minnesota was out-shot 17-6, including 5-1 on goal in front of 390 fans at Jesse Owens Stadium.

“Other teams might not have bounced back like we did (Sunday),” McMahon said.

Against what Wickstrand called the best team the Gophers have played this season, Minnesota lost 8-1 to the Lions on Friday night.

The Gophers found themselves trailing only 2-1 in the 32nd minute after Anna Nudell Lee’s looping shot over Penn State goaltender Amanda Brown found the back of the net.

However, five minutes later, Minnesota native Sophie Hiler scored on a rebound to open up the game and start the Penn State romp.

One minute later, Tiffany Weimer, the reigning two-time offensive player of the week in the Big Ten, scored her 17th goal of the season and effectively put the game out of reach for Minnesota.

“This was not a fun game,” Wickstrand said. “They were fast and strong. The effort (the Lions) played was phenomenal.”

With its conference tournament chances almost gone, Minnesota will return to practice this week in preparation for its final Big Ten game of the season Friday versus Wisconsin.

But with many missed opportunities this season, one more game might not be enough to help the Gophers realize their postseason dreams.

“We still want to finish the season strong,” Wickstrand said. “And who knows how things will shake out with the other teams.”

Gophers goaltender Karli Kopietz, who started Minnesota’s first 12 games, did not make the trip to State College, Pa., or Columbus, Ohio, because of academic reasons.

Kopietz, who has yet to declare a major, is enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts.

The sophomore said she was caught off guard last Tuesday when the coaches told her she was not making the road trip.

“I know I didn’t put in 100 percent (in the classroom),” Kopietz said.

In regards to missing the road trip, Kopietz said, “Academics always come first.”

Kopietz will meet with the coaches Tuesday after Wickstrand returns from a recruiting trip to determine her timetable to return.