It was a busy Homecoming weekend for the fall Minnesota Gophers sports teams last weekend. But it was a mixed weekend filled with highs and lows. One team allowed a brutal upset, while others had upsets slip away at the last few minutes. Here is a summary of last week’s action and a look ahead to this week.
The Gopher volleyball team seemed to be back in a good place after their big three set sweep of Wisconsin at the Pav last Sunday. They had looked better than they had in some time and had two easier conference games at home to follow that up with. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the Jekyll and Hyde nature of their Big Ten season thus far reared its ugly head once again as Minnesota dropped a five set match to a Northwestern team that had yet to win a Big Ten set in 2022.
The Gophers got off to a slow start and dropped the opening set to the Wildcats. Minnesota’s passing was off all night long and the Gophers were having trouble handingl Northwestern’s serves. But, the Gophers seemed to recover enough and took both the second and third sets winning 25-21 and 25-17. They needed just one of the final two sets to claim a win and move on, but that would not be in the cards.
The Gophers hit an abysmal .128 in the fourth set and never really was in it. In the deciding fifth set the Gophers took a 8-6 lead before allowing the Wildcats to go on a pair of 3-0 runs that would wrestle the match away from the Gophers. It was Northwestern’s first ever road win over a top 10 ranked team and it was a match that may haunt the Gophers greatly come NCAA seeding time.
Minnesota needed to bounce back when they hosted Iowa on Sunday afternoon, and they did picking up a 3-1 win. Taylor Landfair would pick up 25 kills in the victory to lead Minnesota. Middle blocker Naya Gros had her best match of the season finishing with 12 kills and 5 blocks. It was Minnesota’s 49th straight win over the Hawkeyes.
The loss to Northwestern dropped the Gophers in the rankings this week. They check in at #11 in the nation ahead of a two-match road trip to the Mitten State. Minnesota plays at #24 Michigan Friday night at 7:30 on Big Ten Network before heading to East Lansing and playing the Michigan State Spartans at 1PM Sunday afternoon in a match that will stream on BTN+.
The Gopher soccer team dropped a pair of heartbreaking losses to Michigan and Wisconsin this week to fall to 5-7-1 and 1-4 in Big Ten play. The Gophers hosted the Wolverines on Thursday night and gave up the lone goal of the night in the 64th minute to Michigan’s Meredith Haakenson. Gopher goalkeeper Megan Plaschko made six saves in the losing effort. The Gophers could muster only three shots on goal and all were saved by the Wolverines’ goalie Izzy Nino.
The Gophers headed to Madison to face the #23 Badgers on Saturday, and for the first 80 minutes looked like they might pull off a Border Battle upset. Unfortunately in what has been a trend this season for the Gophers, they could not hang on and faltered late giving up not one but a pair of goals to Wisconsin in the final eight minutes of the match to lose 2-1.
Minnesota outplayed Wisconsin outshooting the Badgers 12-3 in the match with an 8-2 edge on shots on goal. Unfortunate both the Badgers shots on goal went in leaving the Gophers to try and figure out what happened. Minnesota took the lead in the 50th minute when freshman midfielder Amelia Brown headed in a corner kick from graduate forward McKenna Buisman for her first career goal. The Badgers would respond when the Gopher defense faired to keep their opponents in front of them. The Big Ten’s leading scorer Emma Jaskaniec tied the match, 1-1 after a pass from Ashley Martinez. in the 82nd minute.
Five minutes later it as a similar goal for Wisconsin’s game winner when Aryssa Mahrt got past Minnesota’s backline after being assisted by Rylee Howard. instead of a potential season changing upset, the Gophers had a sad four hour bus ride home to think about the opportunity that slipped away.
Minnesota returns home to host Iowa at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sunday at 1PM in a match that can be seen live on BTN.
The Gopher rowing team took part in their lone “home” regata on the season last Saturday when they raced in the Head of the Mississippi regatta hosted by the Minneapolis Rowing Club. It would be a good Saturday on the water for the Gophers as they would win in three of the four races it competed on the day.
In the Women’s Collegiate 4, the Gophers ran the podium taking the top three spots in the eight boat field. The boat of Mia Forouhari, Sydney Hicks, Haley Campain, Nuala Macfarlane and coxswain Misha Shah led the way with a winning time of 18:16.035. That was followed by the boat featuring Anna Stephenson, Eleni Charalampidou-Layton, Kimball Utsey, Grace Loescher and coxswain Courtney Cochico in 18:23.487. The third place Minnesota boat came through in a time of 18:28.336 with Annie Moen, Bethany Zmak, Kat Johanns, Meri Bosnic and coxswain Sophie Banik competing.
In the Women’s Collegiate Freshman 8, Minnesota would finish 2-3 behind Creighton. Coming in second would be the boat of Josephine Wise, Chloe Kremnitzer, Carly Gladieux, Kendall Karrmann, Manon Field, Peyton Miller, Natalia Walkowski, Sarah Anderson and cox Tammy Nguyen. The third place group featured Madeline Behfar, Grace Raab, Anna Perron, Anna Farley, Eleanor Kayser, Katherine Strowig, Kennedy Cardwell, Abigail Bergstrom and cox Olivia Tjernlund.
Minnesota swept the top four spots in the Women’s Open 2 with Erin Sullivan and Cecilie Christensen finishing in 19:22.100. The top pair edged teammates Harriet Haege and Ella Saunders as they raced to second (19:24.976) before Kirrali Schofield and Mallory Garfield were third (20:22.847). The boat featuring Tallulah Sweet and Nena Papaterpou ended up fourth in the race with a time of 20:31.963.
Finally the Gophers went 1-2-4 in the marquis race the Women’s Collegaie 8. The winning boat for Minnesota was featuring Cecilie Christensen, Erin Sullivan, Ella Saunders, Harriet Haege, Tallulah Sweet, Brooke Bierbaum, Kirrali Schofield, Nena Papaterpou and cox Isabella Bejaran with a winning time of 15:38.595.
Minnesota returns to the water on Oct. 21 and 22 when they head down to Iowa City for scrimmages with the Hawkeyes.
Members of both the Gophers men’s and women’s cross country teams were in action last Friday. The women had a split team with the main scorers headed to the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Mo., hosted by Missouri. The course will be the location of the NCAA Midwest regional in November, so it’s a good practice run for teams like Minnesota who will most likely be back in a few months. It was a good race for the Gophers who took fourth place as a team behind Illinois, Lipscomb and Northwestern. Minnesota’s top individual performer went to true freshman Ali Weimer with a 10th place finish in a time of 20:42.4. Emma Atkinson followed with a 12th place finish in 20:52.3. Brianne Brewster (21:00.6), Anastasia Korzenowski (21:08.4) and Taylor Kreitinger (21:13.0) placed 23rd, 26th and 30th respectively.
Other member of the Gopher women’s roster and some of the men headed to Eau Claire to compete in the Blugold Invitational. On the women’s side, Sydney Kretlow finished 30th overall in a time of 23:17.7. Carley Kremer finished 32nd overall (23:31.8), while Ceci Howes was 34th (23:40.7).
For the men who ran unattached freshman Griffin Ward finished fourth overall with a time of 24:46.9. Tanner Klumph placed 12th and finished in a time of 25:12.8 and Dan VanAcker placed 23rd in 25:38.4.
Both squads will have a weekend off before sending a full complement of racers to the Nuttycomb Invitational hosted by Wisconsin on October 14th.
A week after winning the MacDonald Invitational, the Gophers were back in action at the Marquette Intercollegiate Tournament. It wasn’t quite as good a weekend as Minnesota slogged to a 10th place finish, 29 shots behind winner Auburn.
Antoine Sale led the Gophers with a 24th place finish coming in at +6 for the three round tournament. Lincoln Johnson played as an individual and did not score for the Gopher team this weekend but led all Gopher affiliated golfers finishing in 10th place at +4.
Minnesota returns to action this weekend in the Alister Mackenzie Invitational hosted in Fairfax, California by Cal Berkley.