To the delight of the 523 soccer fans at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie stadium on Sunday watching Minnesota defeat Colorado 3-2, referee Siavosh Rahimi seemed to have control of one situation during the first half.
After Meghan Jones was injured and walked off of the field, Rahimi gave possession to the Gophers, much to the dismay of Colorado head coach Bill Hempen.
In response to Hempen’s protest, Rahimi said, “If you’re right, I’ll buy you a case. If I’m right, you buy me a six pack.”
The crowd cheered loudly in response, and Hempen shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and considered the dispute over.
But Rahimi would receive several more complaints from both benches and the crowd for the rest of the game, as the physical play on both sides seemed to get out of hand.
“I don’t think he had the game totally under control from the beginning,” Gophers coach Barbara Wickstrand said. “But you call them as you see them, which is fine.”
Minnesota (3-1) struck first in the physical contest, with Amanda McMahon notching the first of her two goals on the day in the eighth minute.
McMahon fired the shot from outside the penalty area, beating goalkeeper Sara Erskine high left. Kyndra Hesse was credited with the assist.
“We’ve been working in practice on laying the ball back on top for Kyndra and I to hit it,” McMahon said. “It was laid back and just put it over (the goalie’s) head.”
Colorado (2-1) tied the score in the 27th minute when Lindsey Galas scored on Gophers goalkeeper Karli Kopietz.
Galas’ first shot was saved by Kopietz, but she couldn’t hang on to, leaving Galas an open net.
Minnesota retook the lead six minutes later, as Rachael Roth scored her third goal of the season off assists from Anna Nudell Lee and Hillary Stowell.
The Gophers increased their lead in the second half when freshman Kaitlin Neary assisted on McMahon’s goal in the 67th minute.
“She’s solid,” Wickstrand said of McMahon. “She’s one of our best shooters on the team. If we keep giving her the ball, then there will be less pressure on our forwards and we’ll get some more goals in the back of the net.”
Colorado pulled within a goal six minutes later, when Nicholle Taylor scored her first goal of the season, but the Buffaloes would get no closer.
Wickstrand called the physical nature of Sunday’s game a “good warm-up” for conference play, which begins in two weeks.
Minnesota was given three yellow cards in the game, while the Buffaloes received one.
“If you have a few hits in the game it gets people pumped up,” midfielder Keely Dinse said. “Even if you get called for a foul, a physical game is more motivating. The Big Ten is more physical than this team was. You have to get used to it coming at you.”
The Gophers have now scored three goals in two straight games. The last time Minnesota accomplished that feat was in 1998 when the team scored three or more goals in three straight games against Indiana, Illinois and Texas Christian.
Minnesota now owns a three game winning streak, which is the longest since 2000 when the Gophers won four games in a row between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13.
Minnesota plays Friday at Iowa State.
Anthony Maggio covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]