Minnesota defeated by Illini at home

The team allowed three goals for only the second time in the 2015 season.

Gophers forward Sydney Squires chases down a pass during the first half on Wednesday evening at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, where Minnesota fell to Illinois 1-3.

Sam Harper

Gophers forward Sydney Squires chases down a pass during the first half on Wednesday evening at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, where Minnesota fell to Illinois 1-3.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers soccer team ended its regular season with a 3-1 loss to the Fighting Illini at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Wednesday.
Neither team scored in the first half in a game played with constant snowfall.
 
“[Field conditions] were so hard,” Gophers freshman midfielder Molly Fiedler said. “It was impossible to see on the field, but it’s really not an excuse because both teams are playing in it.”
 
Illinois recorded three shots in the first half, all on goal, while Minnesota (11-5-3, 6-4-1) recorded two, one on goal. 
 
Illinois scored two goals early in the second half, both by redshirt senior Jannelle Flaws, to take a 2-0 lead.
 
The first goal of the game came on a free kick in the 58th minute when Flaws bent the ball around Minnesota’s stack of defenders to find the back of the net.
 
Flaws scored again shortly after in the 64th minute on a penalty kick to bring the Illini’s lead over the Gophers to 2-0.
 
“It’s unlucky,” said sophomore forward Sydney Squires. “It’s a hard way to go out. We prepare for [free kicks and penalty kicks], but her placement was just perfect, there was nothing we could do about it.”
 
The Gophers scored their only goal in the 70th minute when Squires beat the goalie and scored on an empty net after an assist from Fiedler.
 
The goal was Squires’ fifth of the season, which ranks second on the team. The assist was Fiedler’s third.
 
“We showed great fight to come back. I thought when we made changes when [Gophers freshman midfielder Emily Heslin] and [Squires] came in the game, I thought we found a really, really good rhythm,” Minnesota head coach Stefanie Golan said. “It was a good ball from [Fiedler], a really good effort from [Squires] to finish.”
 
The Illini scored their final goal of the game in the 85th minute when sophomore forward Kara Marbury shot the ball over Gophers junior goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs, who slid to try to make the save.
 
“We had a couple other opportunities to go level that we didn’t, and they got behind us once and were able to finish that,” Golan said.
 
Hobbs recorded eight saves in the game.
 
Minnesota was outshot 13-10 in the game and gave up three goals for just the second time on the season.
 
Both Squires and junior forward Simone Kolander led the Gophers on offense with three shots each, two on goal.
 
“[The Illini] were physical and with the conditions, it kind of threw us off,” Fiedler said. “Our touches weren’t right there, and they were physical and were able to step in.”
 
Minnesota has been outscored 7-2 by opponents in its last four games of the regular season. Golan said the team will reevaluate its approach heading into the Big Ten tournament Sunday.
 
“It’s four [games] in a row that we haven’t been able to come out on top, and it’s our own errors that are putting us in this position,” Golan said. “It’s a tough way to go down, and right now, we need to figure out what changes we need to make because it’s obviously not working in the last four games.”