It was a busy week for Minnesota Golden Gophers non-revenue sports this past week. The fall seasons are winding down, and the winter seasons are just kicking into gear. We had some NCAA Championships action, and a notable season debut. Lets cover it all below.
The Gopher soccer team upset the Auburn Tigers in their NCAA Tournament First Round Match-up last Friday 2-0. The first half was fiarly even with both teams having looks, but nothing very threatening as the half ended scoreless.
The Gophers made some halftime adjustments on the wet and rainy pitch and it worked. Minnesota dominated the second half and broke open the scoring in the 61st minute on senior Emily Peterson’s first collegiate goal. April Bocken took a free kick from 24 yards out and Peterson redirected it into the upper corner of the net to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
Just under 20 minutes later the Gophers scored on another gorgeous set piece. Bocken took a corner kick and booted it to the front of the net where Emily Heslin deflected it to Megan gray who put the ball in the back of the net to ice the 2-0 victory. Bocken’s two assists give her 27 all-time in her Gopher career good enough for the third most in program history.
The win was the Gophers first NCAA Tournament road victory in school history. It will get a bit tougher this weekend when Minnesota heads to UCLA to face the #2 seeded Bruins in the second round. The Gophers and Bruins will kick off at 9:30 Friday night and can be streamed for free HERE.
The Gophers kept on rolling in Big Ten play as Minnesota swept Indiana on Senior Night on Friday and then competed the football/volleyball sweep of the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday to move to 14-0 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota has a three game lead over second place Illinois in the conference with four games to play—all on the road. The Gophers can clinch their first Big Ten Championship since 2015 with either an Illinois loss to Northwestern on Wednesday, or a Gopher win at Maryland on Friday night.
The Gophers also honored head coach Hugh McCutchen on Saturday night. He was supposed to be in Rhode Island for his introduction into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, but decided to stay with his team instead. So the Gophers had a post-game ceremony including the below video for him on the court instead.
Gopher Women’s Basketball:
The Gophers officially began the Lindsay Whalen coaching era on Friday night with a 70-47 win over New Hampshire in front of a sellout crowd at Williams Arena. Senior Annalese Lamke scored more points in the game Friday then she did in her entire three previous season with the Gophers. Her 21 points led Minnesota as Taiye Bello added a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Kenisha Bell added another 17 for the Gophers as well.
The Gophers will head out to their first road game of the season on Wednesday night when they head to Cincinnati to play the Xavier Musketeers. Our own GoAUpher will be at the game and should have a recap for us on Thursday. The Gophers then return to host San Diego Torreros on Satirday at the Barn.
Both the Gopher men and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA Midwest Regional hosted by Bradley in Peoria, Illinois last Saturday. The Gopher women finished in third place, while the men finished in fifth place. Neither finish was good enough for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, but on Sunday the Gopher women were rewarded with an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship meet this Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin. It will be the 13th out of the last 14 seasons that the Gopher women have qualified for the NCAA Championship Meet.
Both the men and women had two runners each earn All-Region honors last Saturday. Both Bethany and Megan Hasz received the honor for the women after finishing in eighth and tenth place overall at the meet last Saturday. Alec Bastian and Evan Ferlic picked up the honors for the men with 20th and 24th place finishes.
Gopher Swimming and Diving
Both Gophers squads competed in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge hosted by Purdue last weekend. Several performances by Gopher athletes propelled the Big Ten to wins in both competitions.
For the women, Tevyn Waddell set a PR in the 200-back, touching in 1:53.47 and finishing second, just shy of the school record of 1:53.34. Mackenzie Padington would win the 1000-free with a final time of 9:34.06, the fastest time in the nation this season.
The men were led by
Max McHugh would post the nation’s top time in the 200-breast winning the event in 1:54.20. Bowen Becker would record the nation’s fastest time in 2018 in winning the 50-free in 19.62.
The Gophers are back in action this weekend at the Iowa Invitational in Iowa City.
The Gophers won their first dual meet of the season against the Air Force Academy 33-3 Friday night in Colorado Springs. Minnesota won nine out of ten weight classes and got four bonus point wins including a pin by Mitch McKee at 141 pounds.
The previous weekend the Gophers won seven of ten weight classes in the Daktronics Open hosted by South Dakota State. Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak, Mitch McKee, Steven Bleise, Carson Brolsma, Dylan Anderson and Gable Steveson all took first-place in their respective weight classes.
The Gophers will get a much tougher foe this Sunday when they open up their home dual meet season at Maturi Pavillion. Ninth ranked Minnesota will host #2 Oklahoma State in the Pav at 4:00.