Overtime penalty kick ends Minnesota’s run for a championship

The Minnesota soccer team entered FridayâÄôs third-round NCAA game against Notre Dame with all the energy one would expect from a team that has made such great strides with its program. The Gophers just never expected their season to end as ironically and abruptly as it did. Just over 3,100 fans showed up to watch the game, many of whom stood in the snow and leaned against a chain-link fence surrounding the field. The Gophers kept pace with the No. 1 overall seed Fighting Irish in the first half, mustering eight shots and one shot on goal. Temperatures hovering around 10 degrees mixed with the snow that had been cleared off the field prior to the game created treacherous conditions for both teams. Gophers midfielder Clare Grimwood likened game play to a slapstick cartoon, and said the field resembled icy cement. âÄúPeople would try to stop,âÄù she said. âÄúTheir feet would slip out from underneath them, and theyâÄôd fall on their butt.âÄù Grimwood was one of the GophersâÄô top performers in Friday nightâÄôs game, tallying five shots and one of the teamâÄôs two shots on goal. The second half saw Notre Dame open up its attack. The team tallied three shots on goal in the first five minutes of the half and continued to keep the pressure on Minnesota, forcing three corners and ending the half with a total 24 shots. Minnesota goalkeeper Lindsey Dare credited her teammates for making quick work of such an imposing offense. âÄúThey absolutely laid themselves out,âÄù Dare said. âÄúIt was a heck of a game, and we absolutely played our hearts out.âÄù Despite an offensive onslaught, Minnesota was able to keep pace with the Fighting Irish in what was essentially an up-and-down-the-field game of pinball. Neither team had strong possession in the second half, and though Minnesota was unable to muster more than two shots, the team spent a considerable amount of time in the Notre Dame zone. Gophers head coach Mikki Denney Wright said she was pleased to see her team keep up with the Fighting Irish. âÄúThe field conditions were tough for anyone to possess,âÄù she said. âÄúIt did get a bit direct. It was up and down, up and down. It was really an incredible pace.âÄù The overtime period saw a renewed offensive attack for Minnesota. Each team tallied just a shot apiece until the Gophers drew a penalty kick in the seventh minute of overtime. The call came when Kerri Hanks took a tumble in mid-shot after Gophers defender Krystle Kallman touched her right shoulder. The incident was difficult to see, but itâÄôs possible that the icy field could have factored into the fall. Prior to the penalty kick, Dare said she was confident and wasnâÄôt feeling any added pressure. âÄúIn a PK,âÄù she said, âÄúall the pressureâÄôs on the shooter. I just do the best I can to try to make an educated guess on where sheâÄôs going to go. She went one way, and I went the other. ThatâÄôs just how it goes.âÄù Dare dove right to try to make the save, but Hanks slid the ball to DareâÄôs left, scoring the winning goal for the Fighting Irish and anticlimactically cutting the GophersâÄô season short. Despite the loss, Dare said she has to consider what this season has meant to the program. âÄúWe have team chemistry now that this group, this program hasnâÄôt had for a long time,âÄù she said. âÄúI think we absolutely set a standard.âÄù