Thyken’s goal lifts Gophers over Western Kentucky

Minnesota recorded its second consecutive shutout.

Betsy Helfand

Katie Thyken’s goal early in the second half was enough for the Gophers to defeat Western Kentucky 1-0 on Monday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

It was the first time this season Minnesota had been shutout in the first half.

Head coach Stefanie Golan said that the team was “trying to force it to be pretty rather than reading what the game was giving to us” in the first 45 minutes.

“This game we learned something about ourselves. … When you’re in a position to win and it’s not the prettiest, that’s a pretty good position to be in,” Golan said.

Golan said that WKU made it difficult for the Gophers to possess the ball and “attack the way we wanted to,” so the team had to make adjustments along the way.

Thyken’s goal came shortly after halftime in the 52nd minute. 

“I saw [Gophers forward] Taylor [Uhl] running at the girl, knew I was on top of the box, knew I was wide open so I was screaming at her — ‘give me the ball’ — and then just trying to hit it as hard as I can, just on frame and luckily it went right past the goalie,” Thyken said.

Thyken and Uhl, both sophomores, were teammates at Eden Prairie High School, and Thyken said the experience was a little remnant of the Eden Prairie days.

Uhl’s streak of consecutive games with a goal was halted Sunday at nine, a school record.

Freshman Haley Helverson also had an assist on the goal. Helverson had a solid chance to record her own goal near the end of the first half, but her shot hit the crossbar.

The Gophers (4-2-0) limited WKU to just three shots the entire game. In their previous game, they also allowed three shots.

“There was one good chance here that they had, but other than that, there was nothing dangerous, so we’re very pleased with that,” Golan said.

WKU’s best chance came near the end of the game in the 89th minute, but goalie Cat Parkhill diffused the situation with a diving save.

The team has now recorded back-to-back shutouts. Golan said that the team is “always going to be defense-first.”

“In our back four in particular and Cat playing high off her line behind them, a lot of teams see us with a very high line and want to play beyond us,” Golan said. “Our fastest five players over 40 yards are our back four and our goalkeeper, so go ahead.”

The Gophers will host the Minnesota Gold Classic this weekend beginning with a game on Sept. 7 against San Diego State.

Uhl honored by Big Ten

The Big Ten named Uhl the Offensive Player of the Week after her three-goal, one-assist performance in the team’s 7-0 blowout against Bowling Green on Thursday.

Uhl is the only Minnesota player to record three hat tricks in her career. Only 13 hat tricks have been recorded in program history.

This is the second time she has been given this honor. The last time was for the week of Oct. 31, 2011.