As we pick up speed into 2019, its time again to check out how the Minnesota Golden Gophers non-revenue sports teams are doing in the winter season. We all know how well Gopher volleyball and soccer did in the fall, and now its time to see if the Gopher wrestling team amongst others can carry the load.
The #7 Gophers are 8-1 in dual meets this season and are 1-0 in the Big Ten after a 22-15 win over #20 Rutgers last Sunday at the Pav. Minnesota moved to 4-0 all-time against the Scarlet Knights. Minnesota got the win even missing two-time All-American Ethan Lisak at 133 pounds who missed the meet with a skin condition.
Minnesota got big individual match wins from #6 Sean Russell at 125 pounds, #5 Mitch McKee at 141, #11 Steve Bliese at 157, Carson Broslma at 165, #15 Devin Skatzka at 174, and #2 Gable Stevenson at heavyweight.
Stevenson continued his dominant freshman season easily winning 17-2 in his match with a technical fall. Just take a look at some of his action this past weekend:
The Gophers will host their biggest conference dual meet of this season on Sunday when for the 104th time the Gophers will face off against the #4 Iowa Hawkeyes. The Gophers will bring seven individually ranked wrestlers into the meet while Iowa will have either seven or eight. The action starts at Noon at the Pav and will air live on BTN.
The Gopher women’s hockey team took home the inaugural Minnesota Cup last weekend defeating UMD 4-3 in overtime in the semifinals on Saturday before easily taking care of St. Cloud State 5-1 in the Championship game on Sunday.
The Gophers and Bulldogs were in a fight to the end in Saturday’s game. UMD scored the first goal of the game just 53 seconds into the contest but Taylor Williamson would tie the game with 8:16 left in the first. She would add her second goal to put the Gophers up 2-1 in the second period and would take that lead to the third. But UMD would not lay down. They tied the game at 2 early in the third, and then after Grace Zumwinkle gave Minnesota the lead once again with 8:50 to play in regulation, UMD came back and tied the game at 3.
The game would head to overtime when Olivia Knowles would rip a wrist shot from the point past a screened Maddie Rooney to give the Gophers the 4-3 win and send them to the title game. Alex Gulstene made 33 wins in recording the victory.
Sunday’s game was much easier for the Gophers. Minnesota went up 2-0 early in the first on goals by their two Taylors. Taylor Wente deflected a shot to put Minnesota up 1-0 and then just over a minute later it was Taylor Heise who scored on a rush to make it 2-0. Zumwinkle would add her second goal on the weekend to make it 3-0 Minnesota in the second before the Huskies cut the lead back to 3-1. Minnesota iced the game in the third with Zumwinkle’s third goal on the weekend to make it 4-1, and Heise added an empty netter to finish the game off at 5-1. Minnesota claim;s the first ever Minnesota Cup trophy, but won’t even get a chance to defend the title as they will be the one Minnesota school to sit out the 2020 event.
For their efforts on the weekend Gulstene was named the WCHA Goalie of the week, and Heise was named the WCHA Rookie of the week.
Minnesota finally jumps back into WCHA conference play for the first time in nearly two months when it heads down Highway 169 for a series in Mankato against Minnesota State. The Gophers and Mavericks will face off at 7 PM Friday night and at 3PM on Saturday.
Gopher Women’s Gymnastics:
The Gopher women’s gymnasts opened their 2019 season in a quad-meet at #20 Arizona State last Saturday. Also participating were #19 Missouri and Illinois-Chicago. As a team the Gophers took third place with a team score of 194.150.
Sophomore Lexi Ramler picked up right off where she left her 2018 season where she was the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and a three-time All-American. Ramler took the all-around title with a 39.525 score and took home first place finishes in the vault and uneven bars with matching 9.9 scores. Her 9.9 on the vault was a new personal best. Ramler also scored 9.9 on the beam, but that was only good enough for second place.
The Gophers will host the Best of Minnesota Meet against Gustavus, Winona State and Hamline this weekend before getting into Big Ten competition at Iowa on January 19th.
The Weekend Ahead:
Along with Gopher Wrestling hosting a huge meet against Iowa and the Gopher women’s hockey team getting back to WCHA play in Mankato this weekend, several other Gophers non-rev teams are jumping back into action after the long holiday break, or for the first time this season.
The men’s gymnastics team begins their 2019 season at the Rocky Mountain Open in Colorado Springs, Colorado Saturday night. The Gophers are coming off of a seconds place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2018.
The Gopher swimming and diving teams get back to action after a six week holiday break on Saturday. The poor Gophers will compete against the University of Hawaii—in Hawaii. Poor things...
The Gopher Indoor Track and Field Teams will get back to action this weekend as some of the team heads to Lincoln to compete at the University of Nebraska Graduate Classic Friday and Saturday. The Gophers additionally will host the Minnesota Open on Saturday at the Fieldhouse.
The Big Ten Champion Gopher softball team had their first official day of practice on Wednesday. They will get a month to work out the kinks before opening the season in Orlando Florida on February 8th.
Good luck to the Gophers this weekend