THIS WEEK IN GOPHER SOCCER
The Minnesota soccer team kicks off conference play this week with an East Coast trip to visit No.13 Rutgers on Friday night and Maryland on Sunday afternoon. As 2018 Big Ten Tournament Champions, the Gophers have won their past three conference games.
The trip begins when the Gophers face a ranked Scarlet Knights squad in Piscataway, New Jersey on Friday at 6pm CT. Then, the Gophers head down the East Coast to take on the Terps in College Park, Maryland, on Sunday at 1pm CT.
Gopher head coach Stephanie Golan sat down with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm:
Taking on the two newest members of the Big Ten, the Gophers have faced off against the Scarlet Knights eight times in school history while the Maroon and Gold have taken on the Terps five times.
The Gophers all-time series with Rutgers is knotted up at four after the two team’s split their meetings last season as the Gophers upset Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals. With that victory, the Gophers have won three of their last four matchups with the Scarlet Knights.
Against the Terps, the Gophers are 4-1 all-time with those four victories coming consecutively once Maryland joined the conference . Over the course of their five meetings, the Gophers have outscored the Terps 16-2.
Minnesota can potentially return to Yurcak Field, later this season if they finish in the top-eight of the conference and qualify for the Big Ten Tournament being hosted at Rutgers.
Junior Maddie Nielsen has made an impact in the net for the Gophers throughout the entire season. Nielsen has spent every minute in net and made 35 saves, both top-forty in the nation.
Last Thursday, Nielsen recorded her first shutout of the season as the Gophers with the Gophers victory over No.14 NC State.
The Gophers offensive attack has been spurred forward by the freshman throughout the midfield and top of the formation. Leading the Gophers in shots is midfielder Katie Duong with 11 while forward Manthy Brady is not far behind with eight.
Even when they aren’t shooting, the freshman are still making an impact. Both Brady and Duong have assists in their first college seasons.
ATHENA MAKING AN IMPACT
Junior defender Athena Kuehn has been an impact player for the Gophers across the field this season. Kuehn has started all eight games this season for over 700 minutes helping the Gophers backline stay strong.
Dangerous when she attacks, Kuehn as recorded three shots as well as heading in the game-winning goal on September 12 when the Gophers defeated NC State.
The Gophers continue Big Ten play back at home on Sept. 27 with a match against No. 13 Penn State that features a Gophers soccer scarf giveaway as well as $1 admission.
The weekend closes with a game against Ohio State for the 2nd Annual Kids Fest with an opportunity to participate in “100 Kids vs Gopher Soccer.” Plus, the Gophers will be welcoming the Sanneh Foundation for a soccer gear collection. The foundation, named for former MLS professional Tony Sanneh, “empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment through in-school and after-school support.”
(Info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)