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Gophers soccer draws against Mississippi State 0-0, continues undefeated streak on the season

Junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko made a career-high nine saves to earn her fourth shutout in as many games this season
Image by Christopher Mitchell – Gopher Athletics
Junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko dives to her right to make one of her nine saves against Mississippi State on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on the St. Paul campus.

Gophers soccer drew against Mississippi State 0-0 Thursday evening at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie (ELR) Stadium, extending their undefeated streak to four games this season.

“Plaschko played outstanding,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “That’s what you want your goalkeeper to do. She stepped up. She was a leader. She made big plays when she had to. We’re really happy with where she is at now, and we are excited to see her continue to grow and get better.”

Behind junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko’s career-high nine save shutout, the Gophers now have four consecutive shutouts to start the season, the first time in program history.

“It’s a big confidence boost,” Plaschko said on her career night. “This was the first game that I truly have been tested. It’s important for my team to know that no matter what, I’m going to have their back. I think it’s good to get the first big game under my belt where I had to come up big. It’s just a big confidence boost going into the rest of the season.”

Plaschko now has nine career shutouts in just 14 career starts. Her nine saves are the most by a Gophers soccer goalkeeper since volunteer assistant coach Tarah Hobbs had 10 in 2013.

In a game where Mississippi State had more shots on goal than the Gophers at 9-3 and a handful of high-quality chances, the Bulldogs’ best opportunity came at the 27-minute mark when they drew a penalty kick after Plaschko had challenged an attacking striker in the box and received a yellow card.

Mississippi State’s Onyi Echegini attempted the penalty kick for the Bulldogs but could not find the back of the net as Plaschko predicted the shot as she dove to her right to make the save and keep the game scoreless.

“PKs are a lot of reading people’s hips and feet,” Plaschko said. “It’s just trusting your gut and having the confidence to go out there and make a save. I trusted what I saw at first and went for it, and then I was able to hold on to it.”

For Plaschko, the penalty kick was unfinished business. She caused it and knew she needed to respond.

“I knew I was the one that made a mistake, so I better be the one to clean it up,” Plaschko said. “I made the play, and that was the consequence of it. I needed to clean it up for my team just like they do for me.”

Offensively, the Gophers’ best scoring opportunity of the match came in the second overtime at the 102-minute mark when junior forward Izzy Brown struck the ball just wide of the left goal post.

The Gophers did not produce many dangerous offensive scoring chances outside of Brown’s shot, and their backline gave up more opportunities in this match than usual this season.

“I think we had some defensive breakdowns … I felt like we gave them a couple of clean looks on goal,” Chastain said. “I think we can be a little bit better in the defensive third than we were today. We’ll focus on that going into Sunday.”

The Gophers take on the University of Wyoming (3-0-1) at ELR Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 1 p.m.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the location of Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium; it is located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Additionally, an earlier story incorrectly stated the University of Wyoming’s current record; they played a match before the Gophers, placing them at 3-0-1 for the season so far. 

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