Blog: Looking Back on 20 Years of Soccer - 1995

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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 1995, which was a season that encompassed the team's first Big Ten Championship, first NCAA appearance and first All-American.

Schedule/Results l Roster l Statistics l Photo Gallery

Big Ten Champs and NCAA participants is the best way to describe the 1995 Minnesota women's soccer team accomplishments. The Golden Gophers ended the year with its best season in the short three-year history of the Minnesota program with a 16-5-2 overall record and 5-1-1 Big Ten mark.

Minnesota opened the year with a five-match winning streak, defeating New Mexico, Montana, Ohio State, Northern Illinois and Minnesota-Duluth. In its 10-0 thumping over Northern Illinois on September 10 the Gophers set six school records. Junior Jennifer Walek and freshman Corinne Bolder each notched two goals and three assists for a seven points. The team combined to tally 30 points and 10 assists in the match.

The Gophers made its second trip of the season to Virginia to have its winning streak snapped in a 2-2 tie to No. 24 George Washington and then suffered their first loss two days later to James Madison, 4-3.

The team would rebound in its next match as they recorded their first overtime win in school history against No. 23 Michigan State, 3-2. Sophomore Jennifer McElmury scored the golden goal in the 92nd minute of play to give Minnesota the victory.

The Maroon & Gold avenged a loss from the 1994 season as the Gophers took a perfect 3-0 record into the Penn State match on October 1. The Gophers came out of the match with a 2-0 victory as McElmury and Bolder each notched a goal while Walek was credited with assists on both goals.

Minnesota ended its home stand in October by beating Kansas, Detroit and Butler. The Golden Gophers then tied Indiana, 1-1, in the team's final home match in front of a record-setting 726 fans at the St. Paul Campus Soccer Field. Walek recorded the game-tying goal in the 79th minute to push the game into overtime.

The Gophers then spent the last two weeks of the regular season on the road. A tough test was set as the team had to travel to No. 15 Wisconsin for a key match. Unfortunately, mental mistakes led to three first half Badger goals as Wisconsin won the match, 5-1. Freshman Vanessa Touset was the lone highlight for Minnesota as she scored her first collegiate goal in the 64th minute of the match.

Two days later, the Gophers defeated Northwestern 4-0, and thanks for a Wisconsin-Penn State tie, Minnesota was able to capture the top spot in the Big Ten Conference after finishing fifth a year earlier.

To cap off the regular season, Minnesota traveled to Austin, Texas to participate in the Longhorn Classic before entering conference tournament play. The Gophers would end up losing to Texas in overtime but defeat TCU to cap off the regular season and carry some momentum into the tournament.

With having the top seed in the tournament, the Gophers drew Michigan in the first round. The Wolverines would not pose a test for the Maroon & Gold as Minnesota won 2-0. In the semi-final round, the Golden Gophers would defeat host Indiana, 3-2, to advance to the championship game.

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!
Gretchen Brandt
The championship game served as a rematch of the championship game from a year ago, featuring Minnesota and Wisconsin. The two teams played a scoreless first half, but the Gophers scored the only goal of the match in the second half. Senior Gretchen Brandt took a pass from Carrie Johnson and headed the ball over the Badger's keeper to give Minnesota its first-ever Big Ten title in women's soccer.

The Gophers' impressive season didn't end at the conference tournament as they were offered a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first-time in program history. With high hopes of making a run in the tournament, Minnesota would first have to surpass a familiar foe one more time: Wisconsin.

Over four inches of snow fell the night before the match in Madison, Wis., and the match was delayed over two hours as volunteers attempted to clear the field. After the snow was removed, Minnesota tried to repeat a feat they had accomplished nearly a week earlier, but the Badgers turned the table and avenged their Big Ten Championship loss, winning 1-0.

The Gophers would have its NCAA Tournament run cut short, but despite the early dismissal, Minnesota received its first-ever national ranking. The Maroon & Gold would be tagged in all three major polls with the highest rank coming in from the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America poll at No. 17.

Minnesota would get more recognition on the national stage as McElmury was tagged second team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/UMBRO and Soccer News. Along with being named an All-American, she and Walek earned first team All-Great Lakes Region honors. Denney also received All-Region praise as she was named to the second team.

Accolades would continue to roll in as Walek was tagged Big Ten Player of the Year as she finished the season with a team-high 50 points (16 goals, 18 assists). Walek's goal count finished 14th in the country while her assists were tied for third. Head coach Sue Montagne was named Big Ten Coach of the Year after directing the team to its best overall and Big Ten record. Others receiving Big Ten honors were McElmury, who received her second first team accolade, along with Mikki Denney, Erin Hussey and Bolder, who each were named second team selections.

Bolder finished second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 11 assists for 33 points while McElmury was third with 12 goals and six assists for 30 points.

Brandt, the Gophers' lone senior, scored 13 goals with three of them being serving as game-winning goals in the Big Ten tournament. The senior also was selected a third team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American.

In goal, junior Teresa O'Hearn started all 23 matches, recorded 95 saves and posted a goal against average of 1.09. She had a total of 9.5 shutouts on the season. The Gopher' defense was stiff all season as they allowed only 27 goals in 23 games.

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