U soccer sweeps Michigan teams

by Aaron Kirscht

The Gophers women’s soccer team traveled to Michigan over the weekend in search of two things: wins and confidence.
In beating Michigan 4-2 on Sunday and Michigan State 2-1 on Friday, they got plenty of both. The Gophers (10-3 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) put behind them a tough stretch of games in which they struggled to put away opponents that were beatable and earned two must-have conference victories in the process.
Gophers coach Sue Montagne has gotten the better of her former University of Massachusetts soccer teammate and current Michigan coach Debbie Belkin over the past three games.
And Sunday’s game was no different, as four different Gophers scored on the way to a 4-2 Minnesota win.
The Gophers struck first as Bolder extended her goal-scoring streak to three games and knocked in her fourth of the season.
Bolder added an assist on the game’s second goal by McElmury and the Gophers looked ready to cruise. But the Wolverines stormed back, responding with two goals and tying the game early in the second half.
The Gophers have shown a tendency to tighten up in close games, but if that was the case on Sunday, it didn’t show.
Minnesota recovered nicely, as Erin Hussey scored her conference-leading ninth goal of the season near the 55-minute mark and gave the Gophers a lead they wouldn’t lose.
Nicole Lee continued her surge toward the conference freshman of the year award, providing an insurance goal 12 minutes later. As the Michigan goalkeeper charged at the ball, Lee lobbed her eighth goal of the season into the empty net.
Megan Johnson assisted on both of the Gophers’ second half goals, her sixth and seventh assists of the season.
On Friday, the Spartans (3-9, 0-3) played Minnesota close for much of the game.
Erin Hussey scored her eighth goal of the season 20 minutes into the game on an assist from Jennifer McElmury, but Michigan State tied the game 14 minutes later.
The teams remained tied into the second half, until Corinne Bolder got the game winner — on another assist from McElmury — with 12 minutes remaining. Bolder’s goal was only her third of the season (but her second in two games), after scoring 11 goals and 11 assists in 1995.
Conversely, Hussey brought her team-leading point total to 24 over the weekend, matching her 1995 career high. With five regular season games left to play, Hussey has already exceeded her eight goal, six assist performance from last season.
McElmury’s two assists against Michigan State — her fourth and fifth of the season — and a goal against Michigan pushed her point total to 22.
Minnesota will come home to face Indiana on Friday and Ohio State on Sunday at the St. Paul Campus Soccer Field.