ST. PAUL, Minn. - Ashley Bowyer's goal in the 61st minute gave No. 19 Ohio State a 1-0 road victory over Minnesota Sunday afternoon.
"We wanted to keep our legs as fresh as we could," head coach Lori Walker said. "We played 110 minutes Friday and wanted to rotate as many girls in as possible but this was a big win for us."
The win, coupled with a Penn State draw at Wisconsin, puts the Buckeyes in a tie with the Nittany Lions for first place in the Big Ten.
Lauren Robertson, Ohio State's career shutout leader, shut down the highest scoring team in the Big Ten to earn her 10th clean sheet of 2009 and take over first place on the Buckeye season shutout list.
The Buckeyes controlled the majority of a physical first half. Lauren Steuer and Courtney Jenkins were each able to put a shot on goal for Ohio State but Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill thwarted both opportunities.
For the half, the Buckeyes outshot Minnesota 6-1 and held a 5-1 advantage on corner kicks.
Ohio State kept the pressure on to start the second half until Bowyer put the Buckeyes on the board in the 61st minute. It was the third goal of the season, all in the last four matches, for the co-captain as sophomore Caitlyn Martin recorded the assist.
"You always have to rely on your senior leadership when you have it," Walker added. "The way Ashley plays is perfect for the Big Ten and she has been a huge difference maker for us."
The Golden Gophers would have their best opportunity of the match in the 72nd minute but the shot by Olivia Bagnall off a corner deflected off the post.
Less than two minutes later, the Buckeyes would receive the same fate as a Steuer attempt for an insurance goal bounded off the post.
The Gophers recorded a couple of shots late but would not be able to challenge Robertson.
20 fouls were called in the bruising match and the Buckeyes held a 10-5 shot advantage, 3-1 on goal.
The Buckeyes (11-2-2, 4-1-1 Big Ten) wrap up their three-game road trip with an 8 p.m. matchup at Illinois Thursday before hosting Purdue at 1 p.m. Sunday.