Minnesota sweeps ranked foes to open Big Ten slate

Simone Kolander scored the winning goal in each of the two games.

Gophers forward Simone Kolander handles the ball at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on August 29, 2014.

Zach Bielinski, Daily File Photo

Gophers forward Simone Kolander handles the ball at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on August 29, 2014.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers opened Big Ten play on the road successfully, defeating two nationally ranked teams over the weekend. 
Minnesota (7-1-2) beat No. 20 Ohio State University 2-1 Thursday and then shut out No. 4 Penn State University on Sunday 1-0.
The Gophers defeated the Buckeyes in comeback fashion, scoring two goals in the second half.
Ohio State struck first in the 13th minute when junior forward Lindsay Agnew scored after Minnesota junior goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs came out of the net to make a save. Hobbs lost control of the ball, and the Buckeyes capitalized.
Going into halftime down 1-0, Minnesota head coach Stefanie Golan said she still felt her team was outplaying the Buckeyes.
“Going into halftime, we felt that we’d gotten a little bit unlucky,” Golan said. “They scored the one good opportunity that they had, and Tarah had made an awesome initial save on it. … The one thing that we had to tighten up was [defense].”
The Gophers came back to score two second-half goals to win the game. 
Minnesota sophomore forward Sydney Squires scored the equalizer in the 67th minute after an assist from senior defender Haley Helverson and sophomore defender Tori Burnett.
“We came out with a fire in the second half, and we just knew that the goals were coming,” Squires said.
In the 80th minute, Gophers junior forward Simone Kolander scored the game-winning goal unassisted to put Minnesota up 2-1.
The Gophers ended the game outshooting the Buckeyes 16-9.
Kolander, one of the team’s captains, said she was proud of the team’s ability to battle back in the second half.
“I think it shows a lot how we were able to rebound and we kept fighting,” Kolander said. “We were relentless [in] winning the ball back and coming down and creating a lot of good chances, a lot more than they did, and that ended up working out for us.”
Golan said the key for defeating the Buckeyes was stopping the team’s offense.
“They’re very choreographed on what they want to do on the attacking side,” Golan said. “When you shut them down, they can’t adjust and do something else. So, we
frustrated them to a really high level.”
The Gophers then recorded a 1-0 shutout against the Nittany Lions on Sunday to cap off the team’s 2-0 road trip.
The lone goal of the game came in the 32nd minute when Kolander found the back of the net after assists from both Helverson and Squires.
On the attack, Kolander and redshirt senior forward Taylor Stainbrook each had three shots, while freshman forward April Bockin had two shots, both on goal.
Minnesota as a whole outshot its opponent again, this time 12-10, while Hobbs recorded three saves.
Kolander said that while the sweep gives Minnesota confidence moving forward, piling up two road victories over ranked teams will mean more attention from other teams.
“Teams are going to start taking us seriously, and they’re going to prepare for us,” Kolander said.