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Gophers soccer loses 2-1 against Rutgers, drops back-to-back matches for the first time this season

Senior McKenna Buisman’s first goal this season marked the Gophers’ lone goal
Image by  Brad Rempel – Gopher Athletics
Senior McKenna Buisman celebrates her first goal of the season with senior teammate Delaney Stekr in a match against Rutgers on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Gophers soccer (5-3-3) dropped their third match of the season 2-1 against No. 9 Rutgers Thursday evening, marking the first time they have suffered back-to-back losses this season.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “I think I was proud of the moments where we kept the ball and created. We handled a lot of their dangerous personnel really well for a lot of the game, but you have to do it for 90 minutes. Overall, I’m proud of our performance and for being ultra-competitive.”

The Gophers got off to a slow start after conceding an early goal against Rutgers in the match’s eighth minute.

Frankie Tagliaferri received a pass inside the box from Amirah Ali and buried a shot off the right goal post that was just out of junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko’s reach. Tagliaferri’s goal marks her 100th career point in her 100th career match.

Although the Gophers had a slow start to the match, they quickly began to control the match’s pace throughout much of the first half. They created opportunities, earning corner kicks and finding shots, but Rutgers’ defenders blocked many attempts.

“I think it [the early goal] settled us down a little bit and maybe took some of the pressure off to be perfect,” Chastain said. “I think we relaxed. We were able to connect, do some simple things, get behind them, get some service in the box and get some dangerous set-pieces.”

At the 29-minute mark, senior McKenna Buisman dribbled her way toward the middle of the pitch, created space, and fired a left-foot shot just outside of the box that found the back of the net after hitting the upper side of the left goal post. Buisman’s equalizer went unassisted and marked her first goal this season.

“We knew coming into the game that there were going to be opportunities to catch them in transition,” Buisman said. “It’s been a long time coming for me…It felt really good to get one tonight. I think I proved to myself that I can score against any team.”
Near the end of the first half, the Gophers shut down two Rutgers corner kicks and went into halftime with the score tied at 1-1. They led the Scarlet Knights in corner kicks (4-2) and shots (7-4).

Just like in the first half, Rutgers got off to another quick start in the second half as Sam Kroeger lofted a pass inside the middle of the box to find Allison Lynch, who headed in the ball into the lower-left corner of the net to put the Scarlet Knights up 2-1 at the 49-minute mark.

Lynch’s go-ahead goal at the 49-minute mark would prove to be the match-winning goal for Rutgers.

Plaschko made five saves in the loss and kept the Gophers in the match as she has done all season.

This season, all three of the Gophers’ losses have been by one goal, and they have not given up more than two goals in a match.

The Gophers will take on Penn State in their next match on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 1 p.m. at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

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