Gophers soccer shutout 1-0 against Iowa

The Gophers’ loss marks the first time they have been shutout in Big Ten play this season

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Bjorn Franke - Photo Courtesy of Gopher Athletics

 Freshman Lauren Donovan fights for possession of the ball in a match against Rutgers on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights, Minn.

by Michael Lyne , Sports Reporter

Gophers soccer (8-5-3) dropped their fifth match of the season Thursday night in a 1-0 loss against Iowa on the road, marking the first time they have not scored in a Big Ten match this season.

“Really disappointed,” Gophers head coach Erin Chastain said. “I thought we actually stepped up in the second half and were in their end quite a bit the first 20 minutes and their goal came against the run of play. We made a mistake and they were very opportunistic and capitalized.”

The Gophers and Hawkeyes spent the opening ten minutes trying to figure each other out before they started to find chances. Then, both teams began to go on counterattacks.

Junior goalkeeper Megan Plaschko made a diving save to her left to keep the Hawkeyes off the board in the 13th minute. Ten minutes later, senior Megan Gray had two good looks at Iowa’s net, but Macy Enneking wrapped up both of her shots.

Around the middle 15 minutes of the first half, Iowa’s Alyssa Walker connected on two headers in the box, but both hit the crossbar, and the match remained scoreless.

Just minutes before the end of the first half, sophomore Rylan Baker connected on a header, but Enneking made her fourth save of the half to keep the match tied heading into halftime.

The second half got off to a slow start as both teams registered only one shot through the first 22 minutes.

In the match’s next three minutes, freshman Lauren Donovan had a high-quality scoring chance as she connected on a header, while Plaschko made a tremendous diving save to her right.

However, in the 72nd minute, Iowa went on a fast break. They connected on two through passes as Kenzie Roling finished off the passing play as she fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net to put the Hawkeyes up 1-0.

With under 15 minutes to go in the match, the Gophers had two high-quality scoring opportunities, but they could not find the back of the net.

Baker connected on a header in the box off a service from Gray, but he sent the ball just wide right of the net while graduate student Makenzie Langdok fired a shot near the top of the box that Enneking wrapped up.

All the teams in the Big Ten have one match remaining in the regular season. Only the top-eight teams make the conference tournament.

Minnesota currently sits with 12 points tied for the sixth seed along with Indiana, Penn State and Wisconsin. Ohio State (11) and Northwestern (10) are also hunting for a top-eight spot.

The Gophers’ season will be on the line Sunday when they host Nebraska (6-9-2) at 1 p.m. in their regular-season finale. Minnesota is 5-2-2 this season when they play at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The Cornhuskers will come into Sunday’s match fresh off a two-match win streak, with their victories against Wisconsin and Illinois.

“We still have a great opportunity with this group on Sunday,” Chastain said. “It’s a chance to honor our seniors and to play against Nebraska for a chance to play in the Big Ten tournament. I know our group will be highly motivated to have a wonderful performance.”