In case you have been not paying attention it’s been pretty dang cold in Minnesota and in the rest of the center of the nation this past weekend. It was also Valentines Day weekend, so many of us probably had something other than Minnesota Golden Gophers sports on their brains this weekend. So no matter what had your attention elsewhere this past weekend, here is a recap of all that happened in Gopher sports for you to try and catch up!
The Gophers avenged getting swept at home by Notre Dame a few weekends ago by flipping the script and returning the favor with a pair of 3-0 wins in South Bend. Senior goalie and Hobey Baker Award Nominee (GO VOTE) Jack Lafontaine recorded his fourth and fifth shutouts of the season and of his career by stopping all 52 Irish shots on the weekend. it was the first time Minnesota had back to back shutouts in a series since Kent Patterson did it against Sacred Heart in October of 2011, and Lafontaine becomes the first ever Gopher goalie to do it twice in a weekend against the same conference opponent. Minnesota got a power play goal from Sammy Walker, a tip-in goal from Sampo Ranta and a empty net goal from Blake McLaughlin on Friday night to earn the 3-0 win. Saturday it was Brannon McManus, Nathan Burke and Ranta again with his 14th goal on the season good enough for second in both the Big Ten and country behind Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield.
With the sweep and Wisconsin’s loss to Michigan on Saturday the Gophers are back on top of the Big Ten standings by two points with six games left to play, beginning with a home series against Michigan State this weekend.
The #5 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s volleyball team played their toughest opponent of the season to date and remained undefeated at 8-0 by sweeping #8 Penn State Nittany Lions 3-1 on Saturday and 3-2 on Sunday. On Saturday the Gophers would win the match 29-27, 25-23, 23-25, and 25-18. Stephanie Samedy fresh off of a National Player of the Week award was insane again leading the Gophers with 23 kills and adding 11 digs.
Sunday the Nittany Lions gave the Gophers a really tough match, but Minnesota came from behind pulled it out in five sets winning 25-19, 16-25, 17-25, 25-15, 15-10. Freshman Taylor Landfair led Minnesota with a career hit 22 kills while Samedy added 19. It is the first time the Gophers have swept the season series from PSU since 2000.
Minnesota’s schedule gets no easier as the Gophers heads to #4 Nebraska for a pair of matches this weekend.
The Gophers won a pair of home games last week defeating Illinois 83-73 on Wednesday and Wisconsin 68-63 on Sunday. Sara Scalia led Minnesota with 20 points in the win over the Illini and got 20 points as well from Kadiatou Sissoko in the win over the Badgers.
The Gophers are now 7-9 on the season and 6-8 in the Big Ten—good enough to place them 10th in the conference standings. Minnesota will be next in action at Rutgers on Wednesday.
The Gopher women headed back to Iowa City for a Big Ten tri-meet between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Maryland Terrapins. The third time was the charm for the Gophers as they defeated both schools with a 196.975 over Iowa’s 196.775 and Maryland’s 195.350. Minnesota is now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota saw their first perfect 10 of the season as Ona Loper pulled off a perfect vault.
Lexy Ramler appears to be moving into mid-season form for the Gophers as she won the all-around competition for the third week in a row with a 39.600 anchored by a 9.950 on the beam. Minnesota will continue to keep hot when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday.
The #10 Gopher wrestling team defeated #20 Wisconsin easily 27-7 on Friday. #1 heavyweight in the nation Gable Steveson continued his tear through the Big Ten recording a pin of Wisconsin’s Pete Christensen in 3:20. Minnesota got wins in eight of the ten matches to move to 6-2 on the season. The Gophers will host Northwestern in their final home dual of the season on Sunday.
Indoor Track and Field:
The Gopher track and field teams competed in Iowa City at the Hawkeye B1G Invitational over the weekend. Minnesota would win six event titles and record 10 all-time top-10 times/scores at their final regular season meet of the season. Bethany Hasz crushed the competition in the women’s 3,000-meters setting a new personal best and breaking her own school record at 8:59:37. That time is the best in the Big Ten and the sixth best in the nation this season. Minnesota also got event champions on the women’s side in Amira Young in the 60 meters, Erin Reidy in the 800 meters, and Jayla Campbell, Janielle Josephs, Val Larson, and Abigail Schaaffe in the 4x 400 meter relay.
The Gopher men took home two titles from Alec Basten in the 3,000 meters and Ben Psicihulis, in the 600 meters. Basten’s time of 7:56.61 is the fifth fastest in program history.
The #2 Gopher Women’s hockey team was swept at home by #3 Ohio State by a 2-1 score on Friday and a 3-2 loss on Saturday. Minnesota is now in 4th place in the WCHA with just one series left in the regular season. The Gophers are now 1-6-1 in their last eight games all against #1 Wisconsin and #3 Ohio State. Minnesota blew a 2-0 lead in Saturday’s game.
The Gophers will try and regroup with their last series of the regular season at last place Bemidji State this weekend.
The Gopher men’s gymnastics team remained winless on the season dropping a 407.700-397.800 contest to Nebraska in Lincoln. Gopher junior Mike Moran was the highlight of the meet for the Gophers winning his second consecutive all-around title with a score of his second straight all-around title of the season by posting a career high score of 80.550.
The Gopher women kicked off Big Ten play with a 5-2 loss to Wisconsin in Madison. Minnesota earned the doubles point with a pair of 7-5 wins from the teams of Ekin Ercetin/Rachel Hanford and Dalila Said/Lucia de Santa Ana. The Gophers would go just 1-5 in singles play with freshman Rachel Hanford defeating Wisconsin’s Ava Markham in straight sets (7-5, 7-6).
Minnesota will host their home opener this Friday against Nebraska.