Gophers battle through weekend to stay perfect

The Minnesota soccer team came down to earth this weekend but remained unbeaten after a pair of wins. The Gophers defeated Nevada 2-1 Friday and Idaho 1-0 in overtime Sunday at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev . The GophersâÄô aggressive offense was grounded as both Nevada (0-5-1 overall) and Idaho (1-4-0) held the team to season lows in shots âÄî 16 and 18, respectively . Aside from one early-season game, this weekend was the first time Minnesota (8-0-0) has been in dog fights. But MinnesotaâÄôs perseverance was impressive, head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. âÄúThe team didnâÄôt quit and found a way to win,âÄù Wright added. The weekend was capped off with an overtime goal by sophomore forward Molly Rouse that beat a tough Idaho goalkeeper. Rouse placed a header inside the post on a cross off the foot of sophomore Julie Rezac . The Gophers had good scoring chances in the game, but junior goalkeeper Anna Sandman made some âÄúspectacularâÄù saves. âÄúThey had a very good keeper,âÄù sophomore forward Katie Bethke said. âÄúI have to give her that.âÄù The two teams were battling for the elusive goal throughout the game, but the Vandals eventually gave up the attack. After an evenly played first half, Idaho sat back and simply tried to make life difficult for the Gophers, who had trouble cracking the defense. âÄúThey stayed back and kept a lot of players along the back,âÄù Rouse said. Because Idaho gave up on attacking offensively, senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare recorded her sixth shutout of the season without much pressure. In FridayâÄôs game, Rouse and the Gophers needed every minute to put away Nevada. In the 84th minute , Rouse sent one of her trademark centering passes into the box and senior forward Lindsey Schwartz was able to bury a header for a 2-1 lead . The goal recaptured the lead the Gophers gave up only two minutes earlier. In the 82nd minute , Nevada tied the game with sophomore defender Erin Smith âÄôs goal, which is only the second goal Minnesota has allowed this season . Minnesota responded immediately by increasing their intensity and created two scoring chances. On the second of those chances, Schwartz put the Gophers up for good. Minnesota held a 1-0 lead for most of the game thanks to sophomore defender Jennie Clark âÄôs goal in the 37th minute as she scored on a shot from the box. ClarkâÄôs goal was her second in as many games though the defender came into the season with no goals in her collegiate career . Rouse continued to be the offensive catalyst by leading the scoring over the weekend. Her assist was her sixth of the season and her goal was her second. The weekend was important for the team as it put them on alert for the battles still to come. âÄúThere are going to be a lot of close games this year,âÄù Denney Wright said. âÄúWe need to find ways to win.âÄù