Gophers beat Wisconsin at home, fall to PSU on the road

Minnesota came back from a two-goal deficit at home to defeat rival Wisconsin.

Minnesota forward Taylor Uhl attempts to score a goal against Wisconsin Thursday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Anthony Kwan

Minnesota forward Taylor Uhl attempts to score a goal against Wisconsin Thursday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Betsy Helfand

The Gophers played No. 8 Penn State tough in a back-and-forth game Sunday, but they eventually fell 4-3 in University Park, Pa.

“The girls battled hard and put Penn State under a lot of pressure, possibly more than they have had the majority of this season,” head coach Stefanie Golan told GopherSports.com.

Defensive set pieces, once again, were a thorn in the Gophers’ side.

Minnesota has worked extensively on defensive set pieces in recent weeks. The work paid off last weekend, when it didn’t allow a goal against Michigan or Michigan State off a set piece.

But this weekend, the story was different.

The Gophers gave up three set-piece goals this weekend, including two Sunday.

Whitney Church scored Penn State’s first and fourth goals on headers off corner kicks. The fourth and game-winning goal came at the 56:22 mark, and it put Penn State up by two goals.

Minnesota pulled to within a goal in the 81st minute when sophomore forward Taylor Uhl shot a ball past Penn State’s goalie Britt Eckerstrom from an awkward angle.

“We were able to score three goals against a good team, but unfortunately, we had small errors that limited us from pulling out a win,” Golan told GopherSports.com.

Penn State improved its all-time record against Minnesota to 21-3-0.

The Nittany Lions (10-2-0, 5-0-0 Big Ten) found themselves in an unfamiliar position when Minnesota (7-6-0, 2-3-0 Big Ten) got on the board first. Minnesota went up 1-0 at the 3:30 mark when a cross by Uhl deflected off a Penn State defender for an own goal.

But Minnesota’s only lead of the game was relatively short-lived; Church capitalized on a corner kick around the 15th minute.

Penn State had a prime opportunity at the 16:00 mark, but goalie Cat Parkhill had two saves to keep the Nittany Lions off the board.

But just 10 seconds later, Maya Hayes launched a shot that hit the post. Parkhill dove to the ground to reach it, but the rebound went right back to Hayes, who kicked it past a diving Parkhill.

Penn State’s lead, too, was short-lived. In the next minute, Minnesota had open space, and Uhl passed to Katie Thyken, who knotted the score at 2-2 with a shot from the top right corner of the 18-yard box.

Penn State capped off a goal-saturated first half with another goal in the 27th minute.

The goal came off a Hayes one-on-one with Parkhill. Hayes showed some nice footwork before knocking the ball past Parkhill to give Penn State a 3-2 lead that it didn’t relinquish.

Minnesota entered the game on a high after it came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Wisconsin 3-2 on Thursday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Golan said Thursday that the team “came out flat” in the first half. But it outshot the Badgers 11-3 in the second half.

“We knew they’d be aggressive — we just needed to match their intensity,” Taylor Wodnick said Thursday. “[We] didn’t do it in the first half, but we stepped it up in the second.”

Wodnick scored the game-winner on a header with just under three minutes left in the game.

Allie Phillips and Uhl both had goals in the win. Thyken assisted on both goals.

The Gophers return home next Sunday to play Iowa.

 

-Andrew Krammer contributed to this report.