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Gopher GOALs: 2015 Minnesota Golden Gopher Soccer Preview

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This Friday, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will kick off their season at home…in soccer that is. Coming off the 2014 season, are the Gophers destined for another so-so season or is this the year they will breakout and become a Big Ten contender?

Sydney Squires Scores a header vs Drake University on 8/15/2015 in a friendly
Sydney Squires Scores a header vs Drake University on 8/15/2015 in a friendly
University of Minnesota

Minnesota Soccer - Josee Stiever

Via Twitter.com/GopherSoccer

The start of every season brings fresh hope to every program, no matter the level or the sport. Perhaps a fan of a somewhat recent Tom Cruise sci-fi films, 4th year Gopher Head Coach Stefanie Golan summed that up nicely in her July 14th tweet looking forward to the preseason meetings (which if I can do math correctly started yesterday, August 4th) with the hashtag, #WakeUpBeAwesomeRepeat. Her players have listened to the first two parts of that already, defeating Drake University 8-0 this past weekend in a friendly (exhibition match) at home (Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium) in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Hopefully the will also listen to the "repeat" part.For the Gophersports.com article on that match, click here.

2015 Minnesota Soccer

Via Twitter.com/GopherSoccer

Recent History - The Golan Era

Coach Golan - Gopher Road Trip

Via Twitter.com/GopherSoccer

When it comes to regular season wins, the Golan-era has been consistent with the Gophers delivering 11 of them in each of the last 3 seasons. While last year the Gophers had one more loss than they had the year before, they did have a winning Big Ten record, good for 6th in the Big Ten and added a 12th victory by winning their first game of the Big Ten Tournament (against #25 Michigan). The Gophers finished the season ranked as the #52 team (out of 332)

Minnesota Soccer Results

Minnesota Soccer Records 2011-2014

You can see the full stats from last year by clicking on this link.

Roster

2015 Minnesota Soccer Team

Via Twitter.com/GopherSoccer

The Gophers will have an experienced but well balanced squad this year with 6 seniors (1 red-shirt),6 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 7 freshmen. The Gophers return 3 of their 5 top scorers from last season in #11 Josee Stiever (Jr., 6 goals, 5 assists, played for Dayton Dutch Lions in W-League), #2 Simone Kolander (Jr., 5 goals, 8 assists, played for Seattle Sounders in W-League), and #7 Sydney Squires (So., 4 goals, 2 assists), but lose Livia Schultz and Taylor Wodnick who each scored 4 goals last year. On defense the Gophers return star goalkeeper #00 Tarah Hobbs (Jr., FC Indiana in W-League) who was the Big Ten goalkeeper of the year as a freshman (122 saves) and had 96 saves last year including 8 shutouts. Hobbs was named College Sports Madness national Defensive Player of the Week (9/2/2014) last year. Also returning on defense is Haley Helverson (Sr.) who started all 21 games last year for a defense that held the #7 Penn State team to just one goal. Helverson for the second year in a row will be a team captain this year, being joined by Kolander. For the full interactive roster, click here.

2015 Minnesota Soccer Roster

2015 Minnesota Soccer Roster

This is a smart bunch of players as the squad had a Gopher high 7 Big 10 Distinguished Scholars award winners last season.

Minnesota Soccer Big 10 Distinguised Scholars (2014-2015)

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Schedule

Based solely on last years end of year NCAA rankings, the Gophers would appear to have a somewhat moderately difficult schedule. In the non-conference portion of the schedule two very good teams in Kansas (#37, Gophers at home) and Texas Tech (#14 at Texas Tech). In the Big Ten portion of the schedule we have to play three very tough road games in Penn State #6, Wisconsin (#9) and Rutgers (#30) as well as a potential difficult game in Iowa (#64) At home we have it pretty easy outside of a potential problem against the #51 Michigan team. For the interactive schedule with results of the game, click here.

2015 Minnesota Soccer Schedule

2015 Minnesota Soccer Schedule

Outlook & Hope

Well, last years results aren't the only thing you should look at. According to the Gophersports.com article linked to in the tweet above, here are the Big Ten preseason rankings (Coaches Poll):

  1. Penn State
  2. Michigan
  3. Rutgers
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Illinois
  6. Minnesota
  7. Maryland
  8. Northwestern
  9. Ohio State
  10. Nebraska
  11. Iowa
  12. Michigan State
  13. Indiana
  14. Purdue

Notice something? We have to play all 5 teams above us. Luckily we do miss the next 2 hardest teams (Maryland and Northwestern) and get to play the bottom 6 teams in the conference. Want reason for hope? Last year we loss close games to Penn State (vs. 1-0) and Michigan (@ 2-1) and beat Rutgers (vs. 2-0) and Illinois (@ 2-1). We also beat Michigan in the Big 10 Tournament (1-0). Lets not mention Wisconsin (loss at home 4-1 and in Big 10 Tournament 1-0).

Minnesota Soccer

Via Twitter.com/GopherSoccer

To be honest, this season could either be a step up or even a slight step down due to the schedule. If the breaks go their way, and I always hope they will, expect Minnesota to finish the season in the top #5 of the Big Ten and the top 40 nationally. #IBELIEVEWEWILLWIN. Go out and support this team, they are an athletic and intelligent squad of women who do the state proud.

Social Media

Follow the official Minnesota Soccer twitter account @GopherSoccer. Use the hashtag #GiveEverything.

Follow the official Minnesota Soccer Facebook account Minnesota Soccer.

Minnesota Gopher Flag

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