After a tough loss to No. 5/6 Maryland on Friday night, the University of Minnesota women's soccer team returns to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie (ELR) Stadium on Sunday afternoon for its home opener versus South Dakota State.
Minnesota (0-1) is coming off a strong defensive effort against Maryland, which ended in a 1-0 defeat, but head coach Mikki Denney Wright and company look to bounce back against the Jackrabbits (0-1) and get one in the win column. Historically, the Gophers have been good at rebounding after losing the first match of the season by going 7-1-0 with five shutouts in those instances with the lone 0-2 start coming in 2007.
The Golden Gophers have been remarkable in home openers since 1993 when the program began. Minnesota hoists a home opener record of 13-3-2 for its now 19-year history while Denney Wright is 5-1-1 in her squad's first home matches of each season. In 13 of those 18 home openers, the Maroon and Gold have shutout their opponent.
The Gophers aren't just lethal in home openers, but they are a force to be reckoned with in all home matches. The Maroon and Gold have posted an impressive 27-5-2 record for all home matches in the past three seasons combined.
Scouting South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits come to the Twin Cities after losing a well fought 1-0 battle against Creighton on Friday.
SDSU returns seven starters to the pitch from a squad that finished third in The Summit League and posted an overall record of 11-3-5. This season the Jacks have been selected to finish second behind conference favorite North Dakota State.
South Dakota State is coached by Lang Wedemeyer, who has been with the Jackrabbits for the past 11 seasons. Wedemeyer began the soccer program in 2000 and has guided them to one NCAA Tournament appearance (2008).
The Jackrabbits are led on the field by senior Kayla Braffet, who tallied 13 points last season (five goals and three assists). Elisa Stamatakis, who recorded 60 saves last season and had a goal allowed average of 0.88, will start in goal for SDSU.
The cross-border foes have met six times in the past with the Golden Gophers leading the all-time series at 5-0-1. SDSU has only garnered two goals combined in all the contests while Minnesota has acquired 12. The last matchup between the two teams was August 21, 2009 when the Gophers pulled out a decisive 4-0 win at ELR Stadium.