Gophers take step back, lose on road

Minnesota lost to Northwestern this weekend and fell to 2-3-1 in Big Ten.

Minnesota midfielder Katie Thyken fights for the ball against Louisiana State on Sept. 6.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota midfielder Katie Thyken fights for the ball against Louisiana State on Sept. 6.

Jace Frederick

Two steps forward, one step back.

The Gophers soccer season has appeared to follow that trend — for every big victory or successful stretch of play, there’s a setback.

And that’s exactly what Minnesota’s 2-0 loss to Northwestern was Saturday in Evanston, Ill., as the Gophers were coming off a program-defining win over then-No. 7 Penn State last Sunday.

A matchup with Northwestern, which hadn’t won a conference game this season and hadn’t beaten Minnesota since 2006, seemed like a slam dunk — especially considering the Gophers came in riding a three-game unbeaten streak.

But nobody told the Wildcats.

Northwestern got on the board in the 41st minute when junior forward Katie Landgrebe beat Gophers freshman goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs. The Wildcats took the 1-0 lead into halftime and outshot Minnesota 12-1 in the first 45 minutes.

The Gophers cranked up the offensive pressure in the second half, but to no avail.

Wildcats freshman forward Addie Steiner scored in the 80th minute to put the game away.

Hobbs once again played well in net, compiling seven saves in the game despite allowing the two goals.

Still, Hobbs has no control over the offense, and the Gophers’ offensive ineptitude did them in again. Minnesota was shut out for the fourth time in six Big Ten games.

Including Saturday, the Gophers have been outshot 77-25 in their last four games. They were 2-0-1 in the three games before Saturday.

Gophers head coach Stefanie Golan said she was proud of the way her team rebounded from conference-opening losses to Indiana and Michigan State after last Sunday’s win over the Nittany Lions.

After this Saturday’s loss, the Gophers will have to bounce back yet again.

The team’s first opportunity to do so comes this Friday when it takes on Iowa at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.