The Year So Far
#Unbreakable. That's the Minnesota Soccer's team motto and one that they have for the most part lived up to this year. With a tie and two victories over ranked teams on the road, (all rankings are as they were at game time), #23 Kansas(0-0 tie), #20 Ohio State (2-1), and #4 Penn State (1-0), the Gophers have moved up the rankings going from unranked to #18 with a 7-1-2 record to sit atop of the Big Ten standings.
The only loss the Gophers have suffered was a road game to LSU (currently ranked #28) in a 0-1 result. The Gophers also had another 0-0 tie at Texas Tech (currently ranked #15). This is the first time the Gophers have sat atop the Big Ten since 2008 when they won the conference.
As I mentioned earlier, Minnesota defeated Ohio State & Penn State, both last week, to open up the Big Ten season.
The Gophers return home for their Big Ten opener this weekend; two of their five home Big Ten Games
Tonight (Friday, 9/25/2015): Minnesota vs. Purdue - ELR Stadium - 7:00 pm - BTN Plus
Minnesota is the better team but don't expect Purdue to be a pushover. The Boilermakers are 6-3-0 (1-1-0 in B1G) and lost a home game 1-0 to Minnesota last year.
Sunday (09/25/2015): Minnesota vs. Indiana - ELR Stadium - 1:00 pm - BTN Plus
Despite having a worse record than Purdue, Indiana may be a better team as they have had a much harder schedule so far. The Hoosiers are 3-3-4 (0-0-2) and have played in just a ton of close games.
After this weekend the next three games are on the road with some very hard visits to Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa. Minnesota will return the weekend of October 18th with good tests against #31 Michigan and Michigan State. While none of our next seven opponents are currently in the top 25, they are still Big Ten teams and have proved troublesome in the past.
Keys to Victory
Minnesota has outstanding defense. The defense starts with one of the best goalkeepers in the country, Tarah Hobbs (Jr.). Hobbs was the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year (2013) as a freshman and was named Big Ten defensive player of the week earlier this year. See a quick story below about why she dreamed to be a Gopher.
Defense was strong for the Gophers last year as well, but the offense seems to have stepped it us this year. Standout junior co-captain Simone Kolander scored the winning goals against both Ohio State and Penn State. For this effort she was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and also was featured by ESPN as their player of the week and Top Drawer Soccer as their player of the week. Kolander leads the Gophers with 5 goals this year.
After Kolander, a ton of Gophers have made their impact felt. Sydney Squires (So.) has scored 2 goals (plus 2 assists) as has fellow sophomore Megan Koenig (2 goals, 1 assist) in only 6 games this year. In addition, junior Josee Stiever has been a force to be reckon with having been involved in many plays including one goal and two assists and nine other Gophers have found the back of the net once this year.
Overall, Minnesota has one by controlling the ball and limiting the opportunities of their opponents. Minnesota has 19 goals (on 135 attempts) to 4 (82 attempts) for their opponents. They have 74 corner kicks compared to 56 for their opponents have only to yellow cards compared to 7 for their opponents.
The Gopher's have had good attendance this year but could use your support. Trust me, its a good time. Hope to see you out there!