Win sends Minnesota into semi-finals

Minnesota will advance to the semifinal round of the Big Ten tournament Friday, though the teamâÄôs 3-1 victory Thursday was not earned without a little sweat and tears. The Gophers ended the first half trailing 0-1. Northwestern also outshot Minnesota 9-4 in the first half. The WildcatsâÄô lone goal came from a header by sophomore midfielder Jennifer Baumann, efficiently placed in an unguarded corner of the Minnesota net. âÄúWe didnâÄôt really come out in the first half and play our style of play,âÄù Gophers midfielder Kaitlin Wagner said. âÄúWe were exploited a little bit because of that.âÄù Senior forward Lindsey Schwartz added strong winds gusting in the GophersâÄô direction worked to keep the ball in the Minnesota end. âÄúWe just werenâÄôt playing as quickly and as well as we know how to play,âÄù Schwartz said. Schwartz and Wagner said head coach Mikki Denney WrightâÄôs halftime speech was rousing. âÄúA bunch of us,âÄù Schwartz said, âÄúwere like: âÄòWe are not going to lose in the first round again for the third year in a row.âÄô âÄù Whatever the thought process, things turned around quickly in the second half for Minnesota. Wagner hammered home the GophersâÄô first goal in the gameâÄôs 49th minute. About 10 minutes later Schwartz tallied the game winner to put the team up 2-1. The Gophers remained on the offensive throughout the second half, earning five shots, six corners and one goal in the last 30 minutes of play. Kylie KallmanâÄôs first goal of the season came late in the second half and sealed the GophersâÄô victory. ThursdayâÄôs game was the first time the Gophers have tallied more than three goals since entering regular-season Big Ten play. âÄúIt was a huge testament to our character that we came out and shut down a team like that,âÄù Wagner said. âÄúItâÄôs great that we can do that now, we can go down and still come back and win.âÄù Own goal leads to Boilermakers victory Felicia Schroeder headed what was a strong offensive game for the Boilermakers, putting the team up 1-0 early in the first half. The Buckeyes soon countered, but an own goal by Ohio State midway through the first half putting an end to the teamâÄôs hopes for a win. Though the Buckeyes kept pressure on Purdue, the game ended in a 1-2 Boilermakers victory. The Gophers will take on Purdue at 1 p.m., Friday in the semifinal game of the Big Ten tournament. Schwartz said the Gophers will have to focus on possessing the ball Friday. âÄúIt doesnâÄôt matter if weâÄôve played the team before and if weâÄôve beaten them or not beaten them,âÄù she said. âÄúTheyâÄôre going to come ready to play anyways.âÄù Penn State dominates Hawkeyes The Nittany Lions will also advance to a semifinal Friday. They will take on the winner of ThursdayâÄôs 7 p.m. matchup between Michigan State and Illinois. The team will be coming off a sweeping 2-1 victory against Iowa on Thursday. The Nittany Lions dominated ThursdayâÄôs game, with goals coming from senior Jessie Davis and sophomore Danielle Toney. Penn State outshot the Hawkeyes 18-5.