Blog: Looking Back on 20 Years of Soccer - 1994

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As crazy as it seems, the upcoming 2012 season will be the University of Minnesota's 20th year of having a women's soccer program. To pay tribute to the past 19 seasons, we will take a look back in time this summer and highlight the evolution of Gopher soccer year-by-year. The weekly updates will help us commemorate all the great moments in program history as we head into the highly-anticipated 2012 season, which kicks off August 17 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium against NCAA College Cup participant Florida State.

Today's installment takes us to 1994, which was the first year that women's soccer was instituted a Big Ten Conference sport.

Schedule/Results l Roster l Statistics l Photo Gallery

Despite being the second season in Gopher soccer history, the University of Minnesota women's soccer team embarked on a number of firsts during the 1994 season. The Golden Gophers would end up posting a 10-6-4 record en route to reaching the first-ever Big Ten Conference Championship game and receiving the program's first-ever regional ranking. Individuals on the 1994 squad received praise at the end of the year for their contribution to the team as two Gophers were named First Team, All-Big Ten along with having the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Minnesota opened the 1994 season with a three-game home stand at the team's new home, the St. Paul Campus Soccer Field. The Gophers would go 2-0-1 with the draw coming in the season opener and first-ever Big Ten Conference soccer game against Michigan State on September 4. The team would come back the following weekend and defeat UW-Milwaukee for the first win of the season. In the 5-1 defeat of the Panthers, the Gophers received a pair of goals from freshman Jennifer McElmury while senior Ellen Peterfeso also chipped in three points with a goal and an assist. Two days later, the Maroon & Gold capped a shutout over St. Cloud State, 9-0.

The Gophers would travel to Madison, Wis. on Sept. 17 to compete in the University of Wisconsin/Rocky Rococo Soccer Invitational. In the opening game, Minnesota tallied a 1-1 tie with Colorado College. The next day, No. 7 William & Mary would stifle the Gophers in a 2-0 shutout. McElmury and sophomore Jennifer Walek both were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

The Maroon & Gold returned to Big Ten action on September 23, as they tallied two second-half goals to defeat Michigan 2-1. Walek scored the game-winning goal with less than one minute remaining to negate overtime and defeat the Wolverines. Two days later, the Gophers would be on the losing side of a second-half comeback as Indiana netted three goals after Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute.

The Gophers' Big Ten battles continued the following weekend with a 1-1 draw against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Minnesota scored at the 89:11 mark, when junior Gretchen Brandt scored off a Peterfeso pass.

Minnesota returned to its winning ways on October 2 in Columbus with a 4-1 neutral site victory against Virginia Tech. The win started a streak where the Golden Gophers won five games in the team's next six outings. Minnesota returned home from Columbus to defeat Valparaiso, 4-0, before losing to Penn State in overtime. The Gophers rebounded from the PSU loss with a 4-1 victory against Montana and a 5-1 win against Northwestern.

Go Gophers! Sue Montagne and Erin Hussey
Go Gophers!
Coach Montagne and Erin Hussey
Go Gophers!

The highlight of the season came on October 22, when Minnesota defeated 13th-ranked Wisconsin 2-0 at home. Brandt scored the game' first gal while sophomore Erin Hussey sealed the triumph with a late second-half goal. The victory over the Badgers was the Gophers' first-ever win against a ranked opponent.

Minnesota closed the regular season with a nil-nil tie at home against Marquette and a pair of 2-1 losses to San Diego and San Diego State in the Golden State.

The Golden Gophers would enter the Big Ten Tournament in Madison, Wis. as the fifth seed, but the youthful squad quickly proved that they were one of the elites in the league. Minnesota took care of business in the first round as they defeated Ohio State 3-1 behind two goals from Walek. In the semifinals, Walek notched the only goal in the match to help the Gophers upset the tournament's top seed, Michigan State. Minnesota's championship run ended in the championship game when third seeded and 10th-ranked Wisconsin avenged their earlier loss to the Gophers. The Badgers would shutout Minnesota 3-0 to become the first Big Ten Conference Champion.

For the second consecutive year, Walek led the team in scoring with 34 points on 14 goals and six assists. McElmury complimented the sophomore well as she netted 11 goals and had six assists in her first Gopher campaign. Both Walek and McElmury were named First Team, All-Big Ten for their efforts while McElmury also garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Joining Walek and McElmury on the all-conference teams was sophomore Mikki Denney. Denney, a defender, was named Second Team, All-Big Ten after transferring from North Carolina.

The powerful Gopher offense also saw a great deal of contribution from Brandt, Hussey and Peterfeso. All three players reached double-figure points on the year.

In goal, sophomore Teresa O'Hearn played all but 17 minutes on the year. O'Hearn earned four shutouts, a 1.12 goal against average and 140 saves, which are currently the most in school history for a single season.

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