The No. 24 Ohio State women’s soccer team (12-2-1, 6-0-0) got off to a slow start, but found a way to remain unbeaten in Big Ten play with an overtime win over No. 15 Minnesota (10-4-2, 2-3-1) Sunday.
“Each win is just so exciting,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “I’m very proud of my team for sticking with it today after we didn’t play our best soccer.”
After a scoreless first half, the Golden Gophers got off to a 1-0 start when forward Tamara Strahota caught Buckeye goalkeeper Rachel Middleman out of position and converted on an assist from midfielder Molly Rouse in the 57th minute.
Minnesota kept the ball in Buckeye territory for the majority of the second half, but OSU forward Paige Maxwell shifted momentum when she scored her eighth goal of the season off of an assist from defender Liz Sullivan to tie the game up in the 82nd minute of regulation.
The difference-maker came in the first minute of overtime when midfielder Lauren Steuer passed the ball to a sprinting Lauren Granberg in stride, who then beat Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill for the game-winner.
Granberg said she went into overtime looking to make up for a missed opportunity late in the game, which would have given the Buckeyes the lead close to the end of regulation.
“That was huge,” Granberg said. “I had a chance at the end of regulation and I didn’t finish, so I knew I had to go into overtime and get it done for my team.”
The game was a physical one, with both teams combining for 19 fouls. Walker said she was happy with the way her team responded and that games like this bring out the best in her team.
“Minnesota is a team that plays hard, but they play clean,” Walker said. “Those are the kind of teams we play our best soccer against.”
The win keeps OSU in sole possession of first place in the conference, with four games remaining on the schedule. Granberg said that despite remaining undefeated in conference play, the team isn’t looking ahead to a potential Big Ten championship.
“It was a big win for us,” Granberg said. “But we just need to concentrate on our next opponent and focus on that because we haven’t won anything yet.”