In-Game Blog: No. 22 Minnesota at No. 6 Maryland

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Golden Gopher women's soccerThe wait for the 2011 season is over for head coach Mikki Denney Wright and her No. 22-ranked squad as they travel to College Park, Md. on Friday to face the No. 6-ranked Maryland for its season opener at Ludwig Field. The Golden Gophers begin its season on the road for the second-straight year after facing the 2010 National Champion Notre Dame on its home turf.

The Gophers are coming off one of its best seasons to date after they reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the program's now 19-year history. Denney Wright and company had its storybook season come to an end on its home field when Georgetown scored a late goal to win 1-0. Minnesota finished the 2010 season with a record of 14-6-3 and ranked 16th in the final national polls.

Maryland is coming off one of its program's best seasons where it finished ranked in the nation's Top 10 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. The Terrapins had its postseason run halted by Georgetown in the second round after losing on penalty kicks. Maryland returns eight starters from last year's battle-tested squad, and it enters the season ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA preseason poll, which is its highest preseason ranking the program has ever received.

The Terps are coached by Brian Pensley, who was honored last season as the Soccer America National Coach of the Year for posting an 18-2-3 record. Pensley and his team showcased one of the nation's top scoring offenses last season where the Terrapins averaged 2.30 goals per game, which ranked them 12th in the nation.

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