Gophers fall to ranked opponent at home

Minnesota lost to Nebraska and tied with Iowa at home over the weekend.

Minnesota midfielder Josee Stiever passes the ball against Iowa on Friday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Lisa Persson

Minnesota midfielder Josee Stiever passes the ball against Iowa on Friday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

Jace Frederick

Minnesota fell to a ranked Big Ten team for the first time this year when it lost to No. 22 Nebraska 1-0 on Sunday.

The Gophers (9-5-2, 2-4-2) generated numerous chances in the second half but, as they have all Big Ten season, struggled to find the back of the net.

Minnesota’s best opportunity came off a sideline throw-in when junior midfielder Katie Thyken deflected a ball that glanced off the post in the 65th minute.

It was the fifth time the Gophers have been shut out in eight Big Ten games, despite outshooting the Cornhuskers 20-16. It was the first time in six games the Gophers outshot their opponent.

“We were in their end. We were getting a lot of opportunities,” said freshman forward/midfielder Simone Kolander, who sang the national anthem before the game. “It’s frustrating, but it’s exciting to know that we were able to do that.

“If we can carry that onto our other games, the success will come.”

Nebraska’s lone goal came in the 24th minute, when senior forward Jordan Jackson beat Gophers freshman keeper Tarah Hobbs. Hobbs held the Huskers scoreless the rest of the game and finished with eight saves.

Minnesota beat No. 7 Penn State and No. 13 Michigan earlier this season before pushing conference-leading Nebraska (12-3-1, 7-1) to the wire.

“The Big Ten is a funny conference,” Kolander said. “It’s exciting to know that when we do play our best, we can beat the best teams in the country.”

The loss came after the Gophers drew 2-2 with Iowa on Friday night.

The Hawkeyes outshot Minnesota 29-10, but Hobbs was sensational in net. She saved a team-record 16 shots on goal.

“It was kind of surprising,” Hobbs said. “It was a pretty good feeling to have.”

She said she didn’t find out about the record until her mother texted her later in the night.

Minnesota traded goals early with the Hawkeyes. Iowa struck first about five minutes in, but sophomore forward Taylor Stainbrook scored on a cross from senior forward Steph Brandt in the ninth minute to knot the game 1-1.

Brandt gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute, but Iowa responded six minutes later to tie the game again.

Both teams went scoreless through the last 23 minutes to secure the draw.

The two goals were the most the Gophers have scored in a Big Ten game this season.

The Gophers next hit the pitch Thursday against Wisconsin.