Gophers split a pair of weekend games in Florida

Minnesota finished its nonconference slate with just one loss.

Minnesota midfielder Katie Thyken fights for the ball against Louisiana State on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota midfielder Katie Thyken fights for the ball against Louisiana State on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Jace Frederick

The Gophers fell for the first and only time in their nonconference slate Friday with a 2-0 loss to the ninth-ranked Florida Gators.

But Minnesota responded in its final Big Ten dress rehearsal. The Gophers (7-1) defeated the Jacksonville Dolphins 3-0 on Sunday.

Minnesota begins Big Ten play Saturday with a road test against the Indiana Hoosiers.

“We feel good about the first part of our year,” Gophers head coach Stefanie Golan said, “but now we’re 0-0 heading into the Big Ten, so the focus
changes.”

The Gophers stuck with the Gators for much of the match Friday and carried a scoreless tie into halftime.

But Gators freshman phenomenon Savannah Jordan lit the lamp twice in the second half — in the 64th and the 66th minute — to give her squad a 2-0 lead it never surrendered.

Florida tested Gophers freshman keeper Tarah Hobbs early and often Friday, but Hobbs was up to the challenge for most of the game. She stopped seven of the nine shots the Gators sent on net.

The Gators proved worthy of their national ranking, outshooting the Gophers 15-4 and earning eight corner kicks compared to just two for Minnesota.

“Florida does what they do very well, and we had a hard time getting a handle on the game,” Golan said. “We didn’t have time [and] we didn’t have space to be able to play.”

But the Gophers bounced back after their first loss of the season and flipped the script Sunday with a win over the Dolphins.

Senior defender Lauren Bauer put the Gophers on the board with a header off of a corner kick from senior defender MacKenzie Misel in the 22nd
minute.

“I … just tried to throw my body forward, and I got something on it and finally scored,” Bauer said. “It felt really good.”

Redshirt senior forward Steph Brandt seemingly put the game away in the 55th minute, housing a goal off a cross from sophomore forward Haley Helverson.

Junior midfielder Katie Thyken netted her seventh goal of the season late in the game to finalize the 3-0 win.

The Gophers utilized 19 different players on Sunday, receiving ample production from their bench and displaying the team’s proficient depth.

“We came out with tired legs, and we came out pretty banged up from the effort on Friday,” Golan said. “We played a lot of players, and different players were able to step up.”