Hope everyone is off enjoying their summer and soaking up all the sun...and Canadian wildfire smoke they can. Here are a few Golden Nugz that you may have missed in the month of June for our various Minnesota Gophers sports teams.
It’s been a busy offseason for the Minnesota Women’s basketball program as they get used to new head coach Dawn Plitzuweit and her staff. Summer practices have been ongoing and it was announced on Wednesday that the Gophers will take a European team building trip in August to Croatia and Greece.
The 2023-24 Big Ten opponents were released and Minnesota’s schedule sets up relatively favorably.
The Big Ten women’s basketball schedule is determined annually based on predicted order of finish. The teams were tiered into like groups and those tiers were used to mathematically develop a competitively-balanced and equitable 18-game conference schedule with teams playing similar tiered teams more frequently. All teams will play away at the four teams they did not travel to last year.
Minnesota will play Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin both at the Baran and on the road. They will play Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Rutgers on the road, and will host Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue at Williams Arena.
Minnesota avoids several tough matchups as they only will play one predicted Top 25 team twice in Iowa. They get single plays against expected top teams in Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio State.
Mara Braun is currently in China competing with the USA U-21 Team in the FIBA 3x3 Nationals League Tournament. Braun has been one of the best players for the five player US squad as the USA has won four of the five pool tournaments (stops) on this trip to China with one yet to be played on Thursday. Braun did not play for the US on stop one, but since entering the lineup during Stop 2 she has made her presence known. She scored 15 points in three games in Stop 2, the only one the US has not won going 2-1 against China and Japan. In Stop 3 Braun scored 13 points in a pair of games to lead the US team. In Stop 4 Braun scored 13 points in a trio of games to help the US sweep to the title yet again, and in Stop 5 she had her best so far scoring 17 points in three games to help the US to another 3-0 stop.
Congrats to Mara on a great experience with the US team.
It was a great day on Monday for a pair of Gopher golfers as both Emma Carpenter and Grace Curran qualified for the 2023 US Women’s Amateur tournament at a qualifier held at Indian Hill Golf Club in Winnetka, Illinois. Carpenter won the 18-hole tournament shooting a -1 70 while Curran finished in a tie for third place at +1 with a 72. Four players in total from the event earned qualifying spots for the 123rd US Amateur held at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles from August 7-13. The pair of Gophers will be two of 156 competitors. Players will play a pair of 18 hole rounds on Monday and Tuesday with the top 64 players advancing to the match play rounds beginning on Wednesday.
It was announced that the second annual Big Ten Volleyball media Days will take place at the Big Ten Network Studios in Chicago on August 1-2. Minnesota will be represented by a pair of players in redshirt junior and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair, and senior setter Melani Shaffmaster along with new head coach Keegan Cook.
Seven Big Ten Conference volleyball programs (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue) will arrive at the Big Ten Network on Tuesday, Aug. 1 for a series of interview sessions and other creative content opportunities to preview the 2023 volleyball season. The remaining seven Big Ten Conference programs (Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers and Wisconsin) will go through a similar schedule at Big Ten Network on Wednesday, Aug. 2.
A pair of incoming Gopher freshmen received State Player of the Year Honors this past week. Jessa Snippes from Rosemount was named the Minnesota Ms. Softball last weekend. She was also named the Gatorade Minnesota Softball Player of the Year and Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year earlier this month. Snippes is the seventh winner of the award to join the Maroon and Gold along with Sydney Schwartz (2022), Emily Hansen (2018), Katelyn Kemmetmueller (2016), Erika Rozell (2014), Nikki Anderson (2012), and Sara Moulton (2010).
Shortstop Lucy Hooper from Wichita, Kansas was named the Kansas 5A Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Hooper started a triple play to end the Kansas State Championship game back in May for her Valley center High School team to win back to back state titles.
While not officially announced by the U of M yet, we now know from other teams schedule announcements who the Gophers will play in the non-conference portion of their schedule.
The Gophers will open the season Sunday October 8th with an exhibition game at home on the new smaller ice sheet at 3M Arena at Mariucci against Bemidji State.
The following weekend the Gopher swill play a home and home series against St. Thomas with Friday night’s game being played at the Xcel Energy Center in a doubleheader with the Gophers and Tommies women’s teams. Saturday the two teams head to Mariucci for the first official game on the new sheet.
October 20 and 21st is the return of one of the best rivalry's in college hockey when Minnesota heads northwest to Grand Forks for a two game series at North Dakota.
November 3rd and 4th features another in-state rivalry home and home as the Gophers will host Minnesota-Duluth on Friday before making the trek up I-35 on Saturday for a game against the Bulldogs at Amsoil Arena.
Finally the Gophers close out the non-conference portion with a pair of home series after Christmas when Robert Morris comes to town on December 29th and 30th, and the following weekend Colorado College comes to Minneapolis for a Sunday/Monday series on January 7th and 8th. Minnesota is expected to be missing several of their best players for the series against Robert Morris as Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud, Luke Mittelstadt, Oliver Moore, Ryan Chesley and potentially others will likely be with the US World Juniors Team. Those players return home late the following week, hense the pushed Sunday/Monday series against the Tigers so that Minnesota can have their entire roster back and ready for the final 2024 push towards the NCAA Frozen Four which will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in April.