Minnesota blanks third straight opponent

by Zach Eisendrath

As long as Lindsey Dare continues to stop every shot that comes her way, odds are Minnesota’s soccer team will keep up its winning ways.

The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper shut out Iowa State during the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge Friday night, leading the Gophers to a 2-0 victory at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul.

In Minnesota’s first three regular season games, Dare has blanked Drake (12 saves), North Dakota State (five saves) and the Cyclones (nine saves).

“She’s grown tremendously, and has been outstanding,” coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “Three shutouts, what can you say?”

It’s a good thing Dare was on top of her game Friday because Iowa State gave the Gophers (3-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 Big Ten) all they could handle. The Cyclones (0-3-0 overall, 0-0-0 Big 12) locked down the Gophers’ offensive attack with their physicality, limiting Minnesota’s scoring chances on the way to a scoreless first half of play.

“They were definitely more physical than I expected them to be,” said sophomore Lindsey Schwartz. “We haven’t had that physical of a game yet. It was an eye-opener.”

Gophers defender Hailey McCarthy and Iowa State midfielder Elise Reid were prime examples of the physical nature displayed throughout the contest. Their scuffle during the 56th minute resulted in a yellow card for McCarthy. On the night, Minnesota committed 15 fouls and Iowa State another 14.

“It was a rough first half,” Dare said. “But then we got things together, talked about a couple things at halftime and had an awesome second half.”

When the Gophers decided to match the Cyclones’ physical play following the intermission, their attack seemed to open up.

Sophomore Clare Grimwood scored her first career goal in the 64th minute, giving the Gophers a 1-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Grimwood took a pass from sophomore Kaitlin Wagner on the left side of the 18-yard box and fired a shot past Iowa State goalie Ann Gleason to the far post.

“Clare Grimwood has been scoring goals in practice all year, so we just waited for her time,” Denney Wright said. “She’s going to be really dangerous this year.”

Grimwood didn’t know what to make of her first career goal, but said she was just happy it helped Minnesota overcome the Cyclones.

Schwartz, who led the team in goals last season, added a late insurance goal in the 79th minute. After taking Kelsey Hood’s pass on the right side of the field, Schwartz launched a shot from well outside the 18-yard box past Gleason to the upper left corner.

Schwartz said her goal was fueled by the physical nature Iowa State exhibited throughout the match.

“I think I was just angry because I was getting fouled the whole time,” Schwartz said. “So I just kind of took a shot, and it was exciting because it went in.”

Still, without Dare in net, the game’s outcome may have been a different one.

Dare’s most notable save – and most critical – came minutes after Grimwood gave the Gophers the lead midway through the second half.

The Cyclones had a golden opportunity to tie the game after a Minnesota foul in the 69th minute when Iowa State’s Elise Reid fired a free kick from 25-yards out, but a jumping Dare extended upward, tipping the ball over the net and out of play.

“Lindsey was outstanding,” Denney Wright said. “She really saved us on a couple of those chances.”

Dare said her relaxed approach in net as well as the help provided by her defensive teammates has been a big reason for her early season success.

“I’m just having fun. I’m just relaxed back there. When I start getting tense and freaking out, that’s when I make mistakes.”