Soccer ups win streak to five games

Anthony Maggio

In the 80th minute of Sunday’s soccer game against Minnesota, Cincinnati midfielder Ashley Roush ran off the field crying after being issued her second yellow card of the game.

Her teammates left the field just as dejected 10 minutes later, as the Gophers upped their win streak to five games, defeating the Bearcats 1-0 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The streak is the Gophers longest since 1998 when they won six in a row.

Minnesota (5-1) held Cincinnati (4-2) to just four shots on goal in the contest and beat the Bearcats for the first time ever. The Gophers were 0-3 versus Cincinnati all time before Sunday.

“It feels great,” senior defender Meghan Jones said. “I feel like every other year they really dominated us, but this year we came out and dominated them for a change.”

Minnesota came away with two wins on the weekend, earning its first on Friday with a 1-0 win at Iowa State.

In both games, the Gophers out-shot their opponents while forward Rachael Roth scored the game winning goal.

Against the Cyclones, Roth’s goal came in the 53rd minute off an assist from Jones.

Versus the Bearcats, Roth scored in the 20th minute, booting a free kick from midfielder Amanda McMahon out of the air and into the back of the net.

“Amanda had a great ball,” Roth said. “It couldn’t be any more perfect. My timing on my run was perfect. I thought the play was just perfect.”

Roth took five shots in the contest and was involved in almost every play around the net – much to the delight of coach Barbara Wickstrand.

“Rachael was on fire today,” Wickstrand said. “By far, this was the best game she’s played all year. And I think the more and more confidence she gets, she’ll bury the ones that haven’t gone her way yet.”

Despite Roth’s solid play, the Gophers had plenty more opportunities around the net they couldn’t cash in.

Minnesota took 18 shots, 10 of which were on goal.

Against Iowa State, the Gophers took 14 shots, seven on goal.

“We played really hard and dominated, especially in the second half,” Wickstrand said of the Cyclones game. “But we only put one goal away. We’ve got to look to get other people involved and not rely on Rachael and Amanda so much.”

With the two wins, Minnesota is tied with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten heading into conference play this weekend.

Although the team concurs conference play will be more intense than the non-conference schedule, the Gophers go into the Big Ten on a high note, defeating a Cincinnati team which has cracked the top-25 already this season.

Still, Minnesota has work to do if it wants a place among the country’s top teams.

“I think we have to win a few more, but we’re good enough to be ranked,” Roth said. “We just have to keep beating ranked teams to get our name up there.”

The Gophers open the Big Ten season this weekend, traveling to Purdue on Friday, then to Indiana on Sunday.

Anthony Maggio covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]