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Gophers soccer overpowers North Dakota in 2-0 win, remain undefeated

The Gophers’ undefeated non-conference record is the first in the program’s history since 2008.
Image by Brad Rempel – Gopher Athletics
Graduate student Makenzie Langdok celebrates after her first goal of the season with freshman teammate Lauren Donovan in a match against the University of North Dakota on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights, Minn.


Gophers soccer dominated the University of North Dakota in a 2-0 win Sunday evening, remaining undefeated through seven matches with a 4-0-3 record this season.
“I thought we stepped up today and created a lot of good opportunities,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “Certainly, we are happy with the shutout and happy that they didn’t really have any chances to score.”

The Gophers’ offense got off to a quick start, pressing the ball and controlling the pace, led by sophomore Sophia Boman and graduate student Makenzie Langdok.

In the match’s third minute, Langdok dribbled down the right side of the field and lofted a long ball into the box to find junior Izzy Brown, who struck a header toward the middle of the net. However, North Dakota’s goalkeeper Madi Livingston was there to make the save.

The Gophers continued to possess, attack, and get their chances for the first 39 minutes of the first half but could not find the back of the net. It seemed as if the match would be tied going into halftime.

However, just before the end of the first half at the 40-minute mark, the Gophers finally found the back of the net as sophomore Maddie Baker scored her first career collegiate goal.

“It has been great to integrate Maddie Baker in the front line,” Chastain said. “She made a good run on the goal. Happy for her to get on the score sheet. Hopefully, that helps her confidence as we move forward.”

Baker’s first career goal came after a beautiful play that began with sophomore Christa VanLoon, who worked her away toward the left side of the box, created space, and lofted the ball just behind the right goal post to Boman.

Boman received the cross, pulling off a beautiful one-touch pass to keep the ball in play and to find Baker in the middle of the box. Baker made no mistake on Boman’s pass, using her upper body to put the ball into the back of the net to open up the scoring to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead.

“The cross from Christa [VanLoon] was really good,” Baker said. “Soph [Boman] somehow got on the end of that one [the cross] and kept it in [the ball]. Then it was right in front of the goal, and I was like ‘just get it in.’”

At halftime, the Gophers led the Fighting Hawks in shots (17-3), shots on goal (4-1), corner kicks (7-2), and they possessed the ball 76% of the time.

In the second half, the Gophers did not lay back as they came out firing and continued to control the match’s pace. Senior McKenna Buisman had a chance to score but shot the ball over the top of the net at the 55-minute mark, while freshman Khyah Harper fired a shot into the crossbar just after at the 57-minute mark.

As the Gophers continued to take shots and control possession, it was not until the 83-minute mark that they scored their second goal of the match, courtesy of Langdok, her first goal of the season and sixth of her career.

Freshman Lauren Donovan was dribbling in the midfield and crossed it over to Langdok on the right side of the field, and she did the rest.

The Gophers veteran took a quick left cut and dribbled the ball between a Fighting Hawks defenders’ legs. She then found open space toward the middle of the field where she took a sizzling left foot shot from outside the box that bent its way into the top left corner of the net to extend the Gophers lead to 2-0.

The Gophers’ second half was just as dominant as their first half as they finished the match with a season-high 32 shots, seven of them being on goal. They only allowed North Dakota to have four shots, with only one on goal.

Junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko still has yet to concede a goal this season. She now has an impressive six individual clean sheets and is tied for the most in the nation this season with Creighton University’s Keelan Terrell.
“Our backs and goalkeeper were very disciplined today,” Chastain said. “We are happy to end the non-conference with no losses and goals against. We fully recognize that we are going to have to kick it up a notch with the Big Ten.”

The Gophers take on the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their first Big Ten conference matchup of the season at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m.

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