Senior April Bockin scored two goals as the Gophers defeated Nebraska 2-0 on Friday in the semifinals of the Big Ten women’s soccer tournament in Westfield, Ind.
Bockin scored her first goal in the third minute from 6 yards out, finding the upper right corner. It stayed a one-goal game until she found the net in the 88th minute on a 16-yard shot inside the far post. Those two goals gave Bockin, the conference’s Forward of the Year, 13 goals this season, three in the tournament.
“To get that first goal in the first three minutes, it really put us on that front foot,” Bockin said. “Our back line has done so well for us this year. They have been doing a really good job of keeping us in these games.”
Maddie Nielsen had two saves for Minnesota, Corder Aubrei four for the Cornhuskers (9-7-5).
The seventh-seeded Gophers (11-8-1) will play top-seeded Penn State (15-5) at 11 a.m. Sunday for the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament bid. The Nittany Lions edged Illinois 1-0 in their semifinal on an own goal in the 67th minute. It was their ninth consecutive win and third shutout in a row. That shutout streak began when they beat visiting Minnesota 2-0 on Oct. 21 in the final game of the regular season.
Bemidji State wins three soccer awards
Senior forward Rachael Norton of Bemidji State was named the NSIC Offensive Player of the Year in women’s soccer. Norton, a former Irondale prep star, finished the regular season with 19 goals and eight assists, which ranks fourth among Division II players in points.
Augustana defender Rebekah Thoresen, of Minnetonka, was named the Defensive Player of the Year (the Vikings shut out 10 opponents), the Beavers’ Anna Fobbe, of Cretin-Derham Hall, the Goalkeeper of the Year (0.46 goals-against average) and Bemidji State’s Jim Stone, in his 17th season, the Coach of the Year. He led the Beavers to a program record 17 wins and their second consecutive unbeaten regular season at 17-0-1, 14-0-1 in conference matches.
• In the NSIC tournament semifinals in Mankato, Minot State beat Mary 3-1 behind Haley Berryman’s two goals, and Minnesota State Mankato defeated Augustana 3-0 on goals by Jenny Vetter in the first half and Julia Zach and Brynn Desens in the second.
• The No. 3 Gophers volleyball team (19-2, 13-0 Big Ten) plays Michigan State (15-11, 3-10) at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Maturi Pavilion; it’s the first of three matches in a row at home.
• Nine swimmers and four divers from the Gophers men’s and women’s teams were chosen to participate in the inaugural ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 10-11 in Lafayette, Ind. Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer will be the conference’s assistant coach for the women’s team.
• Sam Malinski of the Bismarck Bobcats was named the NAHL defenseman of the month for October. Malinski, of Lakeville, led the Bobcats in scoring with five goals and three assists in six games.