Gophers’ season ends with loss to Loyola

Loyola Marymount defeated Minnesota 1-0 in round two of the NCAA tourney.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers soccer team lost 1-0 to Loyola Marymount University on Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
 
Minnesota finished 12-7-3 on the season, making it past the first round of the tournament for the first time since 2010.
 
The Lions scored the lone goal of the game in the fifth minute when sophomore forward Sarah Sanger shot from inside the box after an assist from senior midfielder and forward Morgan Hilby.
 
“We played well for the majority of the game, just in the first [few] minutes we had a little miscommunication that resulted in a goal against us,” Minnesota head coach Stefanie Golan told reporters after the game. “Credit to [Loyola Marymount] for scoring on a mistake that we made.”
 
The Gophers outshot the Lions 15-11 in the game. Redshirt senior Taylor Stainbrook recorded four shots, and junior forward Simone Kolander recorded five.
 
“We certainly felt like we created enough opportunities. We were able to settle into the game, connect a lot of passes [and] get the ball on the ground, which is where we want it,” Golan told reporters after the game. “[We] just didn’t find the back of the net, which is a hard way to go down.”
 
Golan said the Lions were able to control possession of the ball to keep the Gophers off balance.
 
“It’s difficult when you’re a team that [plays] a possession-oriented style, and every time the ball turns over it’s back in your end, and you’re working to build again,” Golan told reporters after the game.
 
The loss comes after a season in which the Gophers were ranked as high as No. 11 in the coach’s poll and held sole possession of first place in the Big Ten over halfway through their conference schedule. 
 
The Gophers made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013 after a 0-4-1 slide in their last five games before the tournament. Minnesota’s victory in the first round over South Dakota State was the program’s first in the NCAA tournament under Golan.
 
“I think that it was an awesome way to finish out; we went further than I ever have,” Stainbrook told reporters after the game.
 
Senior defender Haley Helverson said she was proud the team exceeded expectations after ranking sixth in the Big Ten preseason polls.
 
“Being ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten for so long is something that Minnesota is never predicted to do. Being picked No. 6 is something that we enjoy because we like to be the underdog,” Helverson told reporters after the game. “Making it this far in the NCAA tournament is better than what I’ve done in the program [before], so I’m very happy with how I’m going out.”
 
Golan said she is confident the team will carry the momentum into the next season.
 
“We had a lot of high moments; we went through a tough stretch and were able to rebound from that and put ourselves in a position to be here and to be one of the last 32
teams playing,” Golan told reporters after the game.