Soccer takes punishing loss from Lady Lions

Paul Markgraff

The Gophers women’s soccer team failed to climb into the ranks of the Big Ten elite this weekend when they lost two consecutive conference matches to Ohio State and fifth-ranked Penn State.
Sunday afternoon, the Lady Lions crushed the Gophers defense, scoring three times in the first 22 minutes. Penn State’s Kelly Convey scored two of the first three goals and Christie Welsh added the third. Convey then scored about midway through the second half to complete her hat trick.
The final for the match was 4-0 — the loss is one of the worst Minnesota has suffered since 1993, its inaugural season.
But the slide actually began Friday evening, when the Gophers were beaten by a strong Ohio State team.
The Gophers’ scoring woes seemed to evaporate when Nicole Lee scored in the 12th minute to give the Gophers a 1-0 advantage.
After being scored on, Ohio State moved quickly to balance their offensive and defensive machinery. The Buckeyes found their positions and worked as a team to completely dominate the field.
Pressuring the Gophers, Ohio State outshot them 14-9 to end the first half.
And the Gophers could not regroup during the second half of the match. Minnesota was completely shut down, managing only one shot compared to the Buckeyes’ 21 shots.
The Gophers’ hopes remained alive until the 79th minute, when Ohio State’s Jamie Minteer tied the match 1-1.
With just three minutes left in the game, Ohio State’s Katie Martorella scored off of an assist from Minteer to give Ohio State a crucial Big Ten win.
The two losses raise serious questions for the Gophers. Coming into the weekend, two questions rested on Minnesota’s minds: when will the team begin to score on a regular basis? Who will step up and help out on offense?
The team’s defense works, with the exception of the Penn State match. Up until this weekend, all of the Gophers would tell you that the defense was not a problem.
But the game is not played on defense alone.
Minnesota has admitted to having problems finishing scoring opportunities, and last year’s offensive trio of Lee, Alison Rackley and Laurie Seidl have yet to put up impressive numbers this year.
They’ll have another chance to tune the offense next weekend when the Gophers will be back at home for a game against Indiana. The game is crucial for the Gophers if they want to remain above .500 in the Big Ten conference and make the NCAA tournament.

Paul Markgraff covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]