It only took one good shot.

After 14 minutes of overtime with only one previous shot, Minnesota’s April Bockin stepped into the top right corner of the box and fired a game-winning strike that beat the Wolverines’ sophomore goalkeeper Hillary Beall to the top left corner of the net.  

The Gophers (2-1-1 Big Ten, 6-4-1 overall) streamed onto the field to celebrate, and the Michigan women’s soccer team (2-2, 6-5) was left to figure out what went wrong, as it fell, 1-0, in double overtime.

After a back and forth first half with no real scoring chances, the Wolverines changed their offensive scheme in the second half and began to put pressure on Minnesota.  

Sloppy passing throughout the first period held Michigan to six shots, with just two on target. For the second half, Michigan coach Jennifer Klein used two holding midfielders to increase passing efficiency.

“I felt that that (switch) gave us a little bit of some better balance and allowed for us to find the ball a bit better,” Klein said. “We created some better movement up top.”

For the majority of the second half — particularly from the 70th minute on — the Wolverines put consistent pressure on the Gophers’ defense. Redshirt junior midfielder Katie Foug had an open chance near the box but just missed on the pass. Moments later, freshman midfielder Meredith Haakenson received a cross from senior midfielder Abby Kastroll and fired a shot that went just wide of the net.

With every close pass, every time a Michigan player chased down a loose ball near the net, every shot that just missed, the crowd at U-M Soccer Stadium grew louder. The anticipatory energy was palpable, and it almost seemed that a goal was inevitable for the Wolverines.

But as time ticked towards the 90th minute and regulation ended with the score still deadlocked, it became clear that the Michigan pressure may not be enough.

Open scoring chances were repeatedly blocked by the Minnesota defense, shots were saved by the Gophers’ goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen and the 90th minute came and went — and the score remained 0-0.

The Wolverines remained tough in overtime, matching Minnesota’s physicality blow for blow. The game was highlighted by hard hits and tough tackles, as is somewhat expected from a Big Ten matchup.

“Every game is gonna be a physical battle,” Klein said. “I felt as if in some moments we were unfortunate to not get some calls our way, but that’s the nature of the game. We have to learn to push through that and make our necessary adjustments to give ourselves a chance.”

Seven minutes into the first overtime, Michigan had what may have been its best scoring chance of the game. Senior forward Reilly Martin passed a corner kick to sophomore midfielder Sarah Stratigakis, who sent the ball to the top of the box for freshman midfielder Raleigh Loughman.

Loughman’s shot bounced off the goalpost, and the Wolverines’ scoring chance — their only shot in either overtime period — was over.  

Minutes later, in the second overtime, after all the crowd’s anticipation and hope for a Michigan goal, it only took one strike from the Gophers to send the crowd home disappointed.

“We can’t check out in those moments,” Klein said. “We have to be dialed in and ready to go. Those moments are championship moments and we have to be better in those.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.