Penn State Defeats Gophers in Final Seconds of Game
St. Paul, Minn. -10/16/09- Gophersports.com
Last minute foul and free kick sinks Gophers in final 6 seconds of the game.
The University of Minnesota soccer team lost in heartbreaking fashion this evening (Oct. 16), as Penn State was able to convert a free kick into the game-winning goal with just six seconds remaining in regulation.
The kick came courtesy of a foul call against the Golden Gophers, just outside the top of the 18-yard box. As the final seconds wound down, Penn State’s Katie Schoepfer lined up the kick. Her game-high seventh shot of the game would be her last, as the kick made its way around the Gopher defense and past the left side of Minnesota (10-3-2, 3-1-1) goalkeeper Cat Parkhill’s (Apple Valley, Minn.) outstretched hands.
With just six seconds remaining on the clock, Penn State (8-5-1, 4-1-0) used a little good fortune to break through and score the deciding goal. Each team had their chances up until that point as a combined 22 shots were put on net in the match.
“It’s heartbreaking for our kids to lose that way cause they fought so hard,” Gopher head coach Mikki Denney Wright said after the game. “Penn State is a great team and they have a number of dangerous weapons. But I thought overall we played a very good game.”
And a great game by the Gophers is was, as they fired off 17 shots in the match against a team that entered the contest allowing just 12 per match. Even more impressive was that 12 of Minnesota’s 17 shots were put on frame. The Gophers Julie Rezac (Eden Prairie, Minn.) led the charge with a game and career high four shots on goal.
On the defensive end, Minnesota was stout – as they have been all season – turning away opportunity after opportunity for Penn State and allowing just 10 of the Lions 23 total shots to reach Parkhill. The Gopher netminder finished the day with nine saves in the match, just one shy of her career high 10, set earlier this season.
As the game played out on a cool and wet Robbie Stadium field, the 924 fans in attendance were treating to an exciting match between the two conference powers. Penn State had the scoring chances early, but Minnesota answered back in a big way finishing the first half with much of the play in the Lion’s zone.
The first half ended in a scoreless tie, but it was not for lack of opportunity. Penn State outshot Minnesota 11-to-9 in the period, but the Gophers made more of their opportunities, putting six of their shots on net.
The second half took a similar storyline as the Gophers again put six shots on goal, compared to five for the Lions. The visitors had the ball last, down in the Minnesota end, and the game appeared to be heading for overtime, before the fateful goal.
“That’s a good team, in my opinion the best team we’ve played this year,” Denney Wright said. “So I think we took a lot of good things away from them. They beat us in the last 10 seconds on a free kick, it’s a great rivalry, it only makes us better, and we have to rebound from this point, and we will.”
Minnesota will regroup quickly, as another stiff test awaits them on Sunday, Oct. 18 when 19th ranked Ohio State visits Robbie Stadium in what is just the next battle of Big Ten heavyweights.
Parkhill added, “We take what we can get and move on.”
Kickoff with the Buckeyes is set for 1:00 p.m.