Gophers fall on the road to Wisconsin

Minnesota had not lost a game in the Big Ten before the match in Madison.

Senior Haley Helverson dribbles the ball down the field at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday Sept. 11.

Melissa Scharf / Daily File Photo

Senior Haley Helverson dribbles the ball down the field at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday Sept. 11.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers soccer team had their first conference loss of the season, losing 1-0 Friday against the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
 
The No. 11 Gophers’ six-game winning streak came to an end with the loss.
 
The lone goal in the game came in the 36th minute when Badgers senior midfielder Kinley McNicoll capitalized on a penalty kick after a Minnesota foul in the box.
 
“Obviously, it’s such a bummer that the only goal they scored [had] to be a penalty kick. But they did create a lot of other good opportunities,” junior forward Simone Kolander said. “I do think they outplayed us in that game.”
 
Minnesota (9-2-2, 4-1-0 Big Ten) was shut out by the opposing team for the first time since they tied 0-0 Sept. 6 against Texas Tech.
 
The shutout also ended Kolander’s scoring streak at five consecutive games.
 
“I think the big thing was that they played as well as they’ve played all year,” Minnesota head coach Stefanie Golan said. “Wisconsin did a good job when balls were going in to our forwards; they had immediate pressure all the time, and we had a hard time dealing with that.”
 
Kolander said the Badgers were able to stifle the Gophers’ style of play, and the team struggled when they got the ball into the middle third of the field.
 
“It just didn’t feel like us,” Kolander said. “I think that’s what’s the biggest bummer. It just didn’t feel like we were connected or we were focused in on the game.”
 
The Badgers also outshot the Gophers 9-4, as Minnesota had a hard time moving the ball down the field in Madison.
 
“I think our issue was that they double- and triple-team all over the field, so we kind of struggled getting out of those situations,” senior defender Haley Helverson said. “We couldn’t create opportunities off of that. It was hard for us to string together two, three passes.”
 
The four shots on the night for Minnesota came from Kolander, junior midfielder Josee Stiever, freshman forward April Bockin and sophomore forward Sydney Squires.
 
Stiever’s shot was the only one on goal during the match for the Gophers.
 
On defense, junior goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs recorded two saves in the match.
 
Helverson said the goal off of the penalty kick was an unfortunate blip in the defense.
 
“They had, I think, two [shots] that went off the crossbar that were decent opportunities,” Helverson said. “Other than that, our defense was pretty solid, so it was pretty unfortunate how they scored.”
 
Even with the loss, Minnesota still sits alone atop the conference standings almost halfway through Big Ten play.
 
“We’re still No. 1 in the Big Ten. There’s no reason for us to not have confidence in what we do,” Golan said. “There are six games left. We feel really good about the way we can finish the season.”