Gophers give another solid Sunday showing

Minnesota recorded its second consecutive shutout Sunday with a 3-0 win over Northeastern.

by Nick Gerhardt

Minnesota might want to call the end of the week “shutout Sunday.”

This weekend the Gophers showed their affection for Sunday as they defeated Northeastern 3-0 for their third straight Sunday win and second consecutive Sunday shutout.

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when: 7 p.m. Friday
where: Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium

“Every Sunday game has been very good,” coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “We seem to play our best soccer on Sunday.”

After working on their defense during the week, Minnesota (4-3-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) turned in a sterling defensive performance against Northeastern (2-4-1 overall, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Association) by allowing only five shots in the game. Gophers’ keeper Chelsey Turner did not see a shot directed her way in the first half and only had to make four saves in the game.

“The back line stepped up and played very well,” Denney Wright said.

The offense continued its assault on opposing goalkeepers by firing 21 shots and found the back of the net just four minutes into the game when junior Clare Grimwood took a pass from freshman Katie Bethke inside the box and scored.

Minnesota turned up its play in the second half and scored again in the 53rd minute when Bethke sent a cross towards junior Lindsey Schwartz and Schwartz scored her sixth goal of the year, which equals her best single-season mark.

Then in the 62nd minute Schwartz returned the favor and found Bethke who scored a goal of her own.

While Sunday seems easy for the Gophers, Friday has proven more frustrating.

Last Friday Minnesota let a 2-1 lead slip away and turned into an eventual 3-2 double overtime loss to Dayton.

This Friday against Boston (3-4-1, 0-0 America East) the Gophers scored 10 minutes into the game when Schwartz scored off a corner kick, but could not register another goal the rest of the way.

Minnesota let that lead disappear in the 71st minute when Farrell McClernon connected on a side volley in front of the net to knot the game at one.

“So far we’ve been a Sunday team,” Schwartz said.

Some players felt disappointed after another double overtime contest and no victory to show for the extra work.

“We should have won the game. We didn’t put the game away. It’s frustrating,” senior Hailey McCarthy said.

Schwartz believes the offense can elevate its play when they have a one-goal lead and score more in order to avoid comebacks like that of Friday.

“Once we score the first goal we need to go after the next and we realized that on Sunday, we have to put teams away,” she said.

After the Sunday game, Denney Wright looked forward to the beginning of Big Ten play next weekend and talked about redemption after a 1-8-1 conference record.

“These kids are ready for redemption because last season left a bitter taste in their mouths,” she said.