Gophers soccer loses 2-1 against the Badgers, drop their first match of the season

The Gophers were without star graduate student right back Makenzie Langdok; her absence was undisclosed.

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Christopher Mitchell - Gopher Athletics

The Gophers huddled up before competing in their first Big Ten matchup this season against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Michael Lyne, Sports Reporter

Gophers soccer (4-1-3) lost to the Wisconsin Badgers (6-1-2) 2-1 on Saturday night, dropping their first match this season.

“I think we saw some really good moments of soccer tonight from our team,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “I didn’t think we defended our box as well as we have…it is early in Big Ten play, and certainly we are disappointed in the loss. We will learn from it and be a better team because of it come Thursday [against Ohio State].”

The Gophers got off to a fast start, courtesy of junior Izzy Brown, who scored her third goal of the season unassisted just 10 minutes into the match.

Brown won a contested ball near midfield, sprinted down the left side of the pitch, and sent a cross into the box, which ended up being deflected into the back right corner of the net by a Badgers defender.

Just minutes later, at the 14-minute mark, the Badgers responded with a goal of their own. Emma Jaskaniec found space in the middle of the box and fired a shot off her left foot into the upper left half of the net.

Jaskaniec’s equalizer marks the first time the Gophers have conceded a goal this season and ends junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko’s shutout streak, which she held for more than 679 minutes of action.

The match played quickly and physically for much of the remaining time in the first half, as both teams had six fouls and the Badgers led the Gophers in shots (4-1) and corner kicks (4-2).

Right out of the gate, the Gophers saw early chances in the second half. Brown had a chance just inside the top right corner of the box as she fired a left-foot shot toward the bottom left of the net (54-minute mark). Senior Megan Gray also connected on a header from a lofted crossed ball from senior McKenna Buisman at the 62-minute mark.
The Gophers continued to create opportunities in the second half as sophomore Sophia Boman fired a shot from inside the box after a pass from sophomore Maddie Baker at the 76-minute mark. However, Wisconsin’s Jordyn Bloomer continued to shut down everything that went her way.

With just under ten minutes remaining in the match, Jenna Kiraly scored the match-winning goal for the Badgers at the 81-minute mark. She controlled a pass from the right side of the pitch inside the box as she spun around and fired a shot to the upper left corner of the net to give Wisconsin the 2-1 lead.

In a match full of back and forth action, the Gophers were without star graduate student right back Makenzie Langdok. Her absence from the lineup remains undisclosed.

Senior Patricia Ward filled in for Langdok at right-back, marking the first adjustment to the Gophers’ backline this season.

“P [Patricia Ward] stepped in, did an awesome job, embraced the opportunity to play there to help the team, and that’s what we needed from her,” Chastain said. “It’s hard to do [step in] when the backline is such a unit, and they get used to how each other play, so [I’m] proud of her effort.”

The Gophers will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State University for their second Big Ten matchup this season on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.