Minnesota advances to Big Ten final

The Gophers defeated Nebraska 2-0 on Friday.

April Bockin dribbles down the field during the game against DePaul on Thursday, Aug. 30 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Ellen Schmidt

April Bockin dribbles down the field during the game against DePaul on Thursday, Aug. 30 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Erik Nelson

Success in the Big Ten has been consistent. The past two Big Ten champions will meet in the 2018 Big Ten final.

Minnesota (11-8-1) defeated Nebraska (9-7-5) 2-0 to advance to its second Big Ten final in three seasons. The Gophers will face No. 15 Penn State (15-5-0) in the Big Ten championship on Sunday. Penn State won the Big Ten title last season, while the Gophers won the Big Ten title in 2016.

Head coach Stefanie Golan said Minnesota came into the match focused and determined to win.

“Our team was committed to our game plan and executed it well,” Golan said. “We continued to stick through with the game plan the whole way through.”

Forward April Bockin scored both Minnesota goals — one in the third minute and the other in the 87th. They were her 12th and 13th goals of the season. 

In addition to Bockin’s two goals Friday, she scored the lone goal in the win over Rutgers last weekend. She has all three of Minnesota’s goals in the Big Ten tournament so far.

Bockin said Minnesota took the momentum from her early goal and used it to their advantage.

“It put us on the front foot this time,” Bockin said. “To put it away in the last couple of minutes to take their edge off felt really good.”

Goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen won her 11th match of the season. Nielsen made two saves and has not conceded a goal this postseason.

The Big Ten championship match begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. 

“It’s a huge deal, especially coming into this season being an underdog,” Nielsen said. “I’m so excited for the [match] on Sunday.”