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Minnesota Soccer: 2023 Season Preview

Can the Gophers build on their 8th place Big Ten Finish in 2022

Megan Nemec is the Big Ten offensive Player of the Week
Kelly Hagenson

The Minnesota Gophers soccer team was the first Minnesota team to take the field in the 2023-24 season and opened up with a pair of wins to start the season 2-0. The Gophers return a lot of talent from last season’s roster that would finish in 8th place in the Big Ten and see their season end to #1 seed Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. They will all need to play up to their potential to eclipse that record in coach Erin Chastain’s third year in charge of the program. The Gophers were predicted to finish in 9th place in the 14 team Big Ten by the conference coaches.

Minnesota returns seven of their top nine scorers from last season led by senior midfielder Sophia Boman. The Edina native led the Gophers with 15 points a season ago and was one of three layers named by the Big Ten to the Big Ten Players to Watch list. Boman is a three-time All-Big Ten selection. Senior midfielder Sophia Romine also had five goals a year ago tying her with Boman and returns to the Gophers offensive attack. Fifth year forward Izzy Brown scored four goals a season ago and also is back on the pitch for Minnesota in 2023.

Joining Boman on the Big Ten Watch list was defender Abi Frandsen. With 18 appearances and 17 starts last season, Frandsen was a consistent piece of Minnesota’s backline. Starting in the right outside back spot, Frandsen contributed to the Gophers’ five shutouts last season. She is a true stay home defender.

The third Gopher was fifth year goalkeeper Megan Plaschko. One of the best keepers in Minnesota history, Plaschko has been honored as theBig Ten Goalkeeper of the Week three times in her career. She enters 2023 with 47 starts and 45 appearances. A season ago the Eagan native picked up five shutouts and needs just one more to enter Minnesota’s top five all-time shutout record.

Minnesota also added depth through the transfer portal. A year after adding D3 All-American Gabbie Cesarone who had a great year for Minnesota, Chastain went back to looking for an impact grad transfer. She may have found one in fifth year senior Megan Nemec. Nemec was the two-time Missouri Valley Player of the Year at Loyola, Chicago and in her first week in the Big Ten Earned the Big Ten Offensive Payer of the Week award after scoring a three goals in Minnesota opening pair of games over Niagara and New Hampshire.

Minnesota started the 30th season in program history with a 5-1 win over Niagara. Boman started the scoring on a free kick just four minutes into the season.

Her goal was followed by Nemec’s first:

then Romine kicked in a header off of Boman:

Then Izzy Brown weaved her way around defenders:

The Purple Eagles would get on the board after a pe tnalty kick to make it 4-1 before Nemec would add her second of the game to end the scoring.

The Gophers came back on Sunday against New Hampshire and again did not wait long. Freshman Kate Childers earned her first collegiate assist on a gorgeous lob to Nemec who put in her third goal on the season just four minutes into the game.

Frandsen would scorer the second goal of her career with an absolute rocket off of a rebound that came back to her deep outside the box to make it 2-0 later in the half.

Boman would score her second of the season off ok a penalty kick midway through the second half to make it 3-0, and Creighton transfer Jordy Rothwell scored her first goal as a Gopher late in the half to make it 4-0 and round out the scoring. Plaschko picked up the shutout, the 20th of her career placing her into a tie for 5th all time in program history.

The Gophers now hit the road for the first time this season for a pair of games in Milwaukee. on Thursday night the Gophers take on UW-Milwaukee at 7 PM and then follow that up with a match at Marquette on Sunday. Minnesota takes on one other power-5 team next week heading to Georgia for a game on Thursday night before returning home to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium Sunday September 3rd to host cross-town foe St. Thomas.