Gophers get five goals against Utah State, closing out nonconference schedule with win

Four of Minnesota’s five goals came in the second half.

Midfielder Molly Fiedler kicks the ball during the Gophers match against Utah State at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sept. 8.

Easton Green

Midfielder Molly Fiedler kicks the ball during the Gophers’ match against Utah State at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sept. 8.

Erik Nelson

Forward Sydney Squires believes the Gophers are getting tired of close games, and it showed on Friday.

Minnesota routed final nonconference opponent Utah State 5-0 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Squires scored two goals in the winning performance.

“We’re sick of the 1-0 games,” Squires said. “It’s nice to come out and actually have the outcomes we think we have earned.”

Both of Squires’ goals came in the second half, her sixth and seventh of the season. Forward Molly Fiedler earned an assist on Squires’ first goal in the 49th minute. Forward Kellie McGahn and defender Maddie Gaffney earned assists on Squires’ second goal in the 55th minute.

The Gophers pressured the Aggies’ defense in the first half, putting five shots on goal. Forward Julianna Gernes opened the scoring in the 39th minute with her second goal of the season. Fiedler and forward Maddie Castro earned assists. The Gophers outshot the Aggies 9-1 in the first half.

Utah State defender Mealii Enos collided with Squires near midfield in the 61st minute. Squires lay on the ground for a moment before a trainer came out to check on her. Squires left the game and Enos received a yellow card.

“[When Squires went down], at first, I was scared. It was a big hit, but [Squires] is a tough player,” Fiedler said. “I knew she would be fine.”

Associate head coach Krystle Seidel said Minnesota did not want to retaliate after the collision. Head coach Stefanie Golan declined to comment for this story.

“It was a pretty aggressive play. [Enos] was trying to play hard and the yellow card served its duty,” Seidel said. “We moved on from it. If something like that happens, it’s part of playing hard, and those two [players] were going hard in the moment.”

Two Gophers scored their first career goals in the second half. Defender Makenzie Langdok scored in the 65th minute assisted by midfielder Athena Kuehn. In the 82nd minute, midfielder Arianna Del Moral scored. Midfielder Celina Nummerdor earned an assist, the first in her Minnesota career. 

Goalkeeper Kailee Sharp won her second game of the season and did not have to make a save. It was her first game since Aug. 25. 

Fiedler thinks this game will help her prepare for Minnesota’s game against Wisconsin next Saturday.

“It feels good to help out the team in any way I can,” she said.

Seidel said she wasn’t shocked at the final score.

“Any time you can put together that great a performance defensively and attacking-wise, I think you always feel good walking out,” she said. “When we play our best, we’re a really talented team. I think we displayed that tonight.”