Ohio State defeats Minnesota on senior night

The 2-1 loss was Minnesota’s first home loss since Sept. 1.

Midfielder Megan Koenig kicks the ball down the field at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday, Oct. 20.

Jack Rodgers

Midfielder Megan Koenig kicks the ball down the field at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Friday, Oct. 20.

Erik Nelson

Midfielder Megan Koenig was overcome with emotion when she walked onto the field at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium with her family on senior night.

Koenig and five other seniors — forwards Julianna Gernes, Kellie McGahn and Sydney Squires, and defenders Tori Burnett and Maddie Gaffney, were honored during a pregame ceremony in Minnesota’s match against Ohio State.

Ohio State made the Gophers senior night bittersweet by the end of the match.

Ohio State (13-3-1, 8-2-0) defeated Minnesota (10-4-3, 6-3-1) 2-1 Friday night on the strength of two first-half goals. This was Minnesota’s first home loss since Sept. 1 when the team lost to UC-Santa Barbara 1-0.

“It sucks to lose a game of this magnitude,” said head coach Stefanie Golan. “You felt like you were in and you had opportunities to change the results. This is the best Ohio State team I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

Nikki Walts opened the scoring for Ohio State in the 11th minute, firing a shot past Minnesota goalkeeper Kailee Sharp. The goal was unassisted, and it was Walts’ second goal of the season.

In the 15th minute, Ohio State extended its lead when Sammy Edwards scored off of a corner kick. It was Edwards’ eighth goal of the season, and Arden Holden earned an assist.

Ohio State’s Haley Walker-Robinson was called for a handballI in the 57th minute. Gernes scored on the ensuing penalty kick, firing a shot past Ohio State’s Devon Kerr. It was Gernes’ eighth goal of the season.

Golan said she was pleased with Minnesota’s effort in the second half even though the team lost. However, she said it wasn’t fun to lose a big game like this one.

“We came out, and we were throwing everything that we could at them. We were trying to put numbers forward. We were trying to create something, and we had a couple of looks,” Golan said. 

Sharp made a career-high five saves in the loss. Minnesota allowed nine total shots. Squires said Ohio State was very effective in the offensive zone.

“It felt like they had more players than we had out there,” Squires said. “They moved really well.”

Ohio State clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season title when Penn State’s game against Purdue ended in a 2-2 draw. Koenig said she thinks the team is a group of fighters.

“I appreciate every single one of my teammates,” Koenig said.

Minnesota’s next game is against Nebraska (9-4-5, 3-2-5) on Wednesday in Lincoln, Nebraska. Minnesota can earn home-field advantage in the Big Ten quarterfinals with a win. Golan said she wants her seniors to remember that life includes unhappy moments and that sports can provide meaningful life lessons.

“You can put everything that you have into something and have it not go your way,” Golan said. “I want them to take away that life sucks sometimes. This group has done a good job of flipping that page [after a loss].”

Correction: A previous version of the subheadline misstated the score of Friday’s game. Minnesota lost to Ohio State 2-1.