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Gophers soccer scores four unanswered goals en route to 4-2 win over Ohio State

Senior captain center back Delaney Stekr scored one goal and assisted sophomore Sophia Boman’s game-winning goal.
Image by Kelly Hagenson – Gopher Athletics
Senior captain center back Delaney Stekr raises her arm as she prepares to take a free-kick for the Gophers in a match earlier this season against the University of Wyoming on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights, Minn.

After a slow start in a second-consecutive match without graduate student captain right back Makenzie Langdok, Gophers soccer dominated Ohio State Thursday night, defeating the Buckeyes 4-2 after scoring four unanswered goals.

“Not the best start, but I’m proud of how we responded,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “Sometimes, as competitors, you get into a road game, and it is Ohio State. They have had a great year so far, and maybe some of tonight was nerves being on the road with a younger group. All we can do is learn from those moments. I think that will help us moving forward.”

Early on in the match, Ohio State created space and controlled the pace. They tested Gophers junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko, but she responded to their tests. She made two enormous diving saves, one on a Kailyn Dudukovich cross that deflected off freshman Elizabeth Overberg and the other on a Kayla Fischer shot from inside the middle of the box.

Ohio State continued to press the Gophers early on and control the match’s pace. In the 16th minute, they pulled off a couple of quick passes as Dudukovich finished off the play with a close shot into the lower right corner of the net to put the Buckeyes ahead 1-0.

The Buckeyes did not end their quick start there as Dudukovich capitalized off a corner kick. She found the loose change in front of the Gophers’ net and made no mistake, burying her second goal of the night to earn a brace and extend Ohio State’s lead to 2-0 just 21 minutes into the match.

In a match that seemed all Ohio State, the Gophers quickly responded with a goal just three minutes later as junior Izzy Brown scored her fourth goal of the season.

Freshman Lauren Donovan earned the secondary assist as she started the scoring play, finding senior Megan Gray open outside the top right side of the box. Then Gray earned the primary assist as she sent a through pass to Brown, who was all alone and buried a shot into the bottom right corner of the net at the 24-minute mark.

The Gophers remained persistent in their attack after Brown got them on the board. At the 32-minute mark, sophomore Maddie Baker took a shot from inside the middle of the box, but it struck the left post and Ohio State cleared it out of harm’s way.

Momentum for the Gophers continued to rise as the first half went on. They controlled the pace and found ways to take shots.

With just two minutes left in the first half, Baker rallied a pass from Gray into the middle of the box. Then junior Sadie Harper found the loose ball between two Buckeyes defenders, firing a shot into the lower right corner of the net to even up the match at 2-2. Harper’s equalizer from Baker marks her first goal of the season.

The Gophers picked up right where they left off in the first half as they dominated Ohio State in the second half.

At the 63-minute mark, senior Delaney Stekr lined up to take a free-kick from midfield. Usually, free-kicks from midfield are not dangerous. However, Stekr fired a lofted ball just in front of Ohio State’s goal that found the foot of sophomore Sophia Boman who was wide open in the box. Boman one-touched the ball into the back of the net to score her third goal of the season and second match-winning goal to give the Gophers a 3-2 lead after a beautiful assist from Stekr.

The Gophers did not look back after taking the lead for the first time in the match. In the 69th minute, sophomore Christa VanLoon (secondary assist) took a corner kick that found Baker (primary assist), who headed the ball toward the inside of the box to find Stekr. Stekr fired the ball off a one-touch into the left corner of the net to score her second goal this season.

Plaschko finished the match the same way she started it, making two saves in the last 10 minutes on Ohio State’s Emma Sears and Dudukovich. She completed the night with six saves.

The win marks Chastain’s first Big Ten victory of her coaching career. It also marks the first time the Gophers won a match after falling behind 2-0 since 2012 when they defeated Wisconsin 3-2.

The Gophers (5-1-3) will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on Michigan State (6-1-2) on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 11 a.m.

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