Gophers defeat Boilermakers, increasing win streak to five matches

Minnesota extended its winning streak to five games with a 2-0 win against Purdue Sunday.

Gophers midfielder Celina Nummerdor carries the ball during the Gophers' game against Purdue at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sunday. The Gophers won 2-0.

Max Ostenso

Gophers midfielder Celina Nummerdor carries the ball during the Gophers’ game against Purdue at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sunday. The Gophers won 2-0.

Erik Nelson

For the fifth game in a row, the Gophers were all smiles at the final whistle. 

Minnesota (9-2-3, 5-1-1) defeated Purdue (9-4-1, 4-2-1) 2-0 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium for their fifth consecutive win, marking the first shutout of Big Ten plays for the team. Purdue hasn’t won against Minnesota at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium since Oct. 23, 2011.

Goalkeeper Kailee Sharp earned the shutout, her fourth of the season and first since Sept. 8. Sharp, who is now 7-1-3 this season, said it was important for the defense to be solid against Purdue.

“We’re very capable of scoring goals, but we seem to do a better job of making sure they don’t get any in the back of the net,” Sharp said.

Defender Tori Burnett said the team put it all together to win the game. She also said Minnesota wasn’t as lucky in previous Big Ten games this season.

“We really stepped it up,” Burnett said. “We all played together, and it was a big performance by the whole team to play really tight defensively.”

Minnesota didn’t score in the first half, but there was still a highlight at the break.

At halftime, head coach Stefanie Golan was recognized for winning her 100th game as Minnesota’s head coach. Golan’s 100th win came on Sept. 29 when Minnesota defeated Rutgers 2-1.

Golan said it was an honor for her to be recognized at halftime, but she said she wanted this recognition to be later. She thinks the focus should be on Minnesota’s win.

“[The win is] absolutely huge, and to do it against a team that scores a lot of goals like we do … that makes it that much more special,” Golan said. “We were in their end a lot more than they were in ours. It’s great for our defensive unit to walk away from that game with a zero.” 

Forward Sydney Squires scored the first goal, her 13th of the season, in the 49th minute after creating a turnover. Her shot was deflected into the net by a Purdue defender.

Forward Julianna Gernes scored her seventh goal of the season when she put the ball through the net after a corner kick. Emily Heslin and April Bockin earned assists. 

Purdue has 14 freshmen on its roster and eight upperclassmen. By comparison, Minnesota has six freshmen and 13 upperclassmen. Burnett said Minnesota’s experience impacted the game.

“Every season, it’s difficult to break them down. They’re extremely organized,” Burnett said. “[Golan] gave us a nice halftime talk. We found some ways to change things and get it going. Our leadership at midfield really helped us to break them down.”

Minnesota’s next game will be on Thursday against Northwestern at 8 p.m. at Martin Stadium in Evanston, Illinois. Golan hopes the team will continue to be strong and take steps forward.

“It’s a little bit outside of our comfort zone with how we play,” Golan said. “We’ve got to settle into the game at Northwestern playing at the only turf field in the conference.”