Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Minnesota

- A season-high 31 shots including a pair of goals from senior forward Katie Bethke catapulted the Minnesota women's soccer team into the NCAA Second Round after a 4-2 win over Creighton on Friday night at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul, Minn. The Gophers will now advance to a second-round matchup against Texas A&M on Sunday at 1 p.m. With four points on the night, Bethke passed Gretchen Brandt (1993-95) to move into sixth-place all-time at Minnesota with 82 career points.

The Gophers (13-5-3 overall, 4-4-2 Big Ten) jumped out to an early lead at 8:35 in the first half when senior forward Molly Rouse slipped her seventh goal of the season in off the far netting to give Minnesota a 1-0 advantage. But Creighton would answer back at 23:57 when Lauren Cingoranelli's strike from just outside the 18-yard box found its way into the goal for an unassisted goal. The Bluejays' Andrea Zuniga would also an assisted scoring strike almost 16 minutes later to send Creighton into halftime with a 2-1 lead.

But the second half was all Minnesota starting with a pair of goal's from Bethke, who nearly doubled her season goal totals in the win and finished with a season-best 10 shots for Minnesota . The senior evened up the scoreboard at 53:33 when she lifted a long strike from outside the 18-yard box over the head of Alicia Montgomery in goal for the Bluejays. Redshirt freshman forward Steph Brandt and senior midfielder Julie Rezac set up the goal and each would factor into later goals for the Gophers. Bethke, who finished the game with a team-high 23 points this season and was tied for fifth in the country with 13 assists entering the weekend, added a second goal with just under 20 minutes left in the game -- this time targeting the far post from just inside the 18-yard box. Junior midfielder Shari Eckstrom, who had a pair of her own chances bounce off the crossbar, picked up the assist on what would eventually become the game-winning goal.

Brandt, who assisted on Bethke's first scoring strike, found the back of the net just over five minutes later when she became the third Gopher this year to record seven goals -- entering a three-way tie with Rouse and Eckstrom for the team lead. Rezac earned her second assist of the night on the goal when her cross sailed over the six-yard box to senior midfielder Angie Olson, whose cross back into the box was tipped in by Brandt to seal the win for Minnesota and project the Gophers into a second-round matchup with the Aggies on Sunday.

In net for the Gophers, sophomore goalkeeper Cat Parkhill made three saves to pick up her 12th win of the season -- tying the mark she set as a freshman in 2009. Montgomery made eight saves for the Bluejays, whose season ends with the loss -- giving Creighton a 15-4-2 overall record.

Minnesota returns to action this Sunday against Texas A&M for a chance to advance to the Round of 16 for the second time in three years. Sunday's game is slated for a 1 p.m. start time at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.