Gophers take victories from Illinois, Purdue

After a pair of staunch weekend victories, the Minnesota womenâÄôs soccer team has vaulted itself into a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten. The Gophers defeated Purdue on Friday night 1-0 after 108 minutes of play. The winning goal came late in the second overtime after a corner kick by Gopher forward Lindsey Schwartz landed near the Boilermakers net. Tamara Strahota, assisted by midfielder Kaitlin Wagner , tallied her third goal of the season in the victory. Minnesota produced well offensively Friday, ending the game with 13 shots on goal. However Purdue goalkeeper Jenny Bradfisch thwarted all but one of the Gophers attempts with several incredible saves. The Gophers opened strong, but fairly quietly Sunday against the Illini. The game was scoreless at halftime, with only one shot on goal aside. âÄúBoth teams were just feeling each other out so I think it took us a while,âÄù Gophers head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. âÄúWe were a little fatigued from Friday night; we had to push through that.âÄù Minnesota found its offense early in the second half. Again, a corner kick by Schwartz was pivotal in producing senior defender Krystle KallmanâÄôs first career goal as a Gopher. Kallman played her first three seasons at West Virginia before coming to Minnesota this season. This goal was a long time coming, and Kallman hopes to tally more points this season, she said. Though the Gophers continued to press Illinois, KallmanâÄôs goal proved to be the game-winner. With SundayâÄôs shutout victory, senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare set a team record for shutouts in a season with 12. The previous record, set in 1997 by Gopher alum Dana Larson, was 11. âÄúIt feels good,âÄù Dare said âÄúWhy would you go for it if youâÄôre just going to tie it?âÄù Ultimately, the goal is a shutout and a win, Dare said. SundayâÄôs game was just that, a grinding, low-scoring test of the teamâÄôs persistence. âÄúA lot of Big Ten games arenâÄôt going to be real pretty and smooth,âÄù she said, âÄúBut, I mean, a win is a win, and weâÄôll take it.âÄù Dare ended SundayâÄôs game with three saves, dropping her goals against average to .26. SundayâÄôs game marked the end of a three-game home-game stretch for the Gophers. Next weekend the team will travel to take on Penn State and Ohio State , two strong teams ranked in the top half of the Big Ten. Denney Wright said though the Buckeyes and Lady Lions will both present the Gophers with a challenge, she expects to see her team perform well. âÄúThe Big Ten championship goes to the team thatâÄôs the most consistent,âÄù she said. âÄúI have a lot of confidence in this groupâÄôs consistency. TheyâÄôre able to bring it every single day.âÄù