Just a few days after senior forward April Bockin clinched a Big Ten Tournament berth for the Minnesota Golden Gophers with a pair of goals an an assist in a win over Iowa, Bockin kept the Gophers season alive. Her 87th minute goal broke a scoreless tie and propelled the Gophers to an upset 1-0 win over #2 seeded Rutgers in the Big Ten Quarterfinals on Sunday. The Gophers now advance to play #6 seed Nebraska in the Big Ten Semifinals at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana on Friday afternoon.
Bockin was named the Big Ten Forward of the Year last week, and she showed why she has been the Gophers team MVP this season once again. Molly Fiedler controlled the ball for the Gophers as they moved up the pitch. She found Emily Heslin open in the center of the field and passed her the ball. Bockin then took a lead pass from Heslin and avoided a Scarlet Knight defender before letting a shot from about 15 yards out off. The shot went to the left of Rutgers’ keeper and into the goal just inside the right post.
Big Ten Forward of the Year, April Bockin! Wow! pic.twitter.com/Ck5FrIflaH— Minnesota Soccer (@GopherSoccer) October 28, 2018
The goal was the eighth game winning goal in Bockin’s Gopher career putting her into the top ten all time in Gopher history. Additionally, the assist for Fiedler was career assist number 25 to tie Bockin, Erin Hussey and Corinne Bolder for fifth all-time in Gopher history.
The goal is just one part in what has been an exceptionally good senior season for Bockin. She was named the Big Ten Forward of the Year and named a First Team All-Big Ten player earlier last week. Fiedler was named to the All-Big Ten third team as well. Forward Patricia Ward was named to the Big Ten All Freshman team and defender Emily Peterson was honored as the Gophers sportsmanship award winner.
The Gophers will face sixth seeded Nebraska in the Big Ten semifinals on Friday. The Cornhuskers defeated #3 seed Ohio State in a shootout in their quarterfinal matchup. Minnesota and Nebraska did not face one another in the regular season. The game will kick off from Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana at 12:30 Central on Friday and will air live on BTN. The winner will face the winner of the other semifinal between #1 Penn State and #5 Illinois on Sunday for the Big Ten’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers may need to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. The Gophers are currently ranked 55th in RPI headed into the Big Ten semifinals and would appear to be squarely on the bubble for the 64 team tournament. Five Big Ten teams made the tournament in 2017.
Good luck to the Gophers this weekend!