The fall season is well underway for the Minnesota Gophers sports teams. Football will play their second game of the season this Saturday night, but before that, several of the Gophers other teams will take to their courts and fields for a big weekend of action. Here is a quick recap of the seasons thus far, and a look ahead to this weekend's competition.
The Gopher soccer team is off to a great 4-1-1 start on the season. After sweeping New Hampshire and Niagara to start the season the Gophers hit the road for a trio of games. They dropped their road opener 1-0 at UW-Milwaukee but came back to defeat Marquette 2-0 on goals by Izzy Brown and Paige Kalal.
Minnesota got their toughest test of the season last Thursday when they faced off against #22 Georgia in Athens. It would be the Megan Plaschko show for the Gophers as the fifth year senior goalkeeper made a season high 8 saves keeping the Bulldogs from scoring and helped Minnesota earn a 0-0 draw. Minnesota returned home last Sunday for a steamy game moved from noon to 7 PM to avoid the worst of the heat. It didn’t cool down the Gopher offense as they would defeat St. Thomas 5-0 on a hat trick from Sophia Boman. Sophia Romine added a goal and the Tommies scored an own goal as well. Plaschko played the first 80 minutes of the game but did not need to record a single save.
Plaschko was named the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week after three straight shutouts and her performance against Georgia. It’s the fourth time in her career she had earned the honor. Nationally, Plaschko ranks 19th in shutouts and third in the Big Ten. She holds a 0.348 goals against average which places her third in the Big Ten and 30th nationally.
Minnesota hits the road for their final non-conference test this Friday when they will visit Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska. The Blue Jays are 0-2-3 this season and will be looking for their first win against the Gophers. Minnesota is 2-0 against Creighton all-time.
After a great 2-0 start to the season for the Gopher volleyball team, they were brough back down to earth with a pair of ranked losses a week ago. Minnesota hosted #7 Texas who had been the preseason #1 team before losing their season opener, and they looked like it as they never really gave the Gophers a chance to get into the match. Minnesota would take set two to even the match a 1-1, but the Longhorns stormed back to win the next two and earn the 3-1 win extending the Gophers losing streak against Texas to four.
It was even worse Sunday when the Gophers headed to Florida to face the #8 ranked Gators. Minnesota was swept 3-0 and were sloppy throughout with multiple passing and hitting errors.
Minnesota had a week to regroup as their weekend will once again see them face two incredibly tough opponents. The Gophers will be joined by Ohio State in the final Big Ten/ Pac-12 Challenge in Palo Alto, California. Friday night the #10 ranked Gophers will face future conference opponent #6 Oregon at 6:30 PM, and then Saturday the Gophers will face the host and #5 ranked Stanford Cardinal at 9 PM. Both matches will air live on the Pac-12 Network. The event was held at The Pav last season with the Gophers defeating Oregon 3-1 before falling to Stanford 3-1.
The Gopher cross-country teams started off their season last weekend with the Oz Memorial held at the U Of M Golf Course. Minnesota competed against Drake and Minnesota-Duluth in the season opener. The Gopher women won the event with a total of 29 points and an individual first place finish from redshirt-junior Emma Atkinson.
The men finished in second place as a team behind Drake and all ran in unison with all nine attached athletes finishing within one second of one another and inside the top 17 runners.
The season kicks off in more serious fashion on Friday with a trip to the Wisconsin Preview, which will be held on the same course as the Big Ten Championships in October. Minnesota will face significantly tougher competition with several power five teams in the field. The 8K men’s race will kick off at 10:30 with the 6K women’s race starting at 11:10. Live results of the races can be found HERE.
The women’s golf team kicked off their season last weekend at the Boilermaker Classic that saw the team finish in third place overall and sophomore Isabella McCauley win individual medalist honors for the first time in her career. The women return home for their lone home tournament of the season next Monday through Wednesday when the host the Annika Intercollegiate at The Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo. The Annika will feature 12 of the nation’s best teams in an epic showcase of women’s collegiate golf. Round one kicks off Monday morning and live scoring is available HERE.
The Gopher men’s golf team kicks off their fall season this weekend as well with their lone home meet of the year. The Gophers will host the Gopher Invitational at Windsong Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota. The field will include 13 teams from across the country including Notre Dame, Marquette, Northwestern, Iowa State, Kansas and Utah amongst others. The teams will play 36 holes on Sunday and a final 18 on Monday. Live scoring will be available HERE.