It took a while, …

Paul Markgraff

It took a while, but eventually the Minnesota women’s soccer team came around.
After suffering a disappointing 2-1 loss in double-overtime to No. 21 Illinois on Friday evening, the Gophers vindicated themselves by winning in dramatic fashion at Iowa yesterday afternoon.
Junior midfielder Erin Holland struck first and struck early against the Hawkeyes with an unassisted goal at the 2 minute 52 second mark.
The Gophers defense then held the Hawkeyes at bay until early in the second half, when the Hawkeyes Teesa Price found the back of the net with a shot of her own.
The second half had been Minnesota’s nemesis so far this year — the Gophers hadn’t scored in the second 45 minutes all year.
Enter Nicole Lee. Lee was the Big Ten’s leading scorer last year, but hadn’t scored a goal this year since the first game of the season. Both streaks came to an end when Lee scored the final goal with just four ticks left on the clock.
“That’s really good for her,”coach Sue Montagne said. “It’s healthy for her as a forward. Hopefully it will get her on a roll.”
The win was a vindication of sorts, showing that the Gophers could hold on to win even after two weekend matches that both went into double-overtime.
Visiting the Illini Friday evening, the Gophers put up a fight against their first Big Ten opponent. The first half of the hard-fought match ended without a score. But shortly after the second half began, Gophers sophomore midfielder Samantha Meyers sent home a pass from senior forward Nicole Lee to take a 1-0 lead.
The Gophers held onto their lead for almost 25 minutes, until Illinois’ Lindsay Johnson tied the match and sent the game into overtime.
But like the first half, the first overtime period ended without a goal, forcing Illinois and the Gophers into a second-overtime period.
Illinois ended the match in their favor during the 112th minute of play. Emily Brown scored the final Illini goal — off a free kick from Kelly Buskiewicz — and gave the Gophers their first Big Ten loss.
While the loss may have been difficult to handle, it might have been eased by the big win over the Hawkeyes on Sunday.
“This team is coming along and realizing what it takes to win these games,”Montagne said. “They have to play at the highest level for 90 minutes. They gained that this weekend.”
Next weekend, the Gophers will host Michigan State and Northwestern at home.
Paul Markgraff covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]