Blog: Looking Back on 20 Years of Soccer - 1998

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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 1998, which was the program's sixth season and culminated in its fourth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Schedule/Results l Roster l Statistics l Photo Gallery

After a season-opening 1-0 loss to Cincinnati, the Golden Gophers came home and posted a pair of 7-0 wins over Minnesota-Duluth and UW-Green Bay and added a 4-2 victory over Pudue in the span of seven days. Senior Laurie Seidl scored eight of those goals and was an honorable mention choice for national player of the week honors by College Soccer Weekly.

The Gophers climbed to a 5-1-0 record to begin the season, but a big downfall came during the last weekend of September, when Minnesota dropped its first two Big Ten home contests with a 2-0 loss to Wisconsin and 2-1 defeat at the hands of Northwestern.

The rollercoaster season began to climb back up the following weekend as the Gophers traveled to Michigan and left the Great Lakes State with a 4-1 win over No. 24 Michigan and a 1-0 win over Michigan State.

That, however, was shadowed by another dip as the Maroon & Gold dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime decision to Penn State, only to be followed by a 1-0 loss at home to Ohio State two days later.

Minnesota's fortunes climbed once against when they closed the conference schedule with a 1-0 win at home over No. 17 Indiana. Freshman Julie Eibensteiner won in her first career start and fellow rookie Alison Rackley scored the game's lone goal in the 89th minute. A 3-1 win over Illinois followed, and the Gophers went on to win four non-conference matches to close the regular season with a six-game winning streak.

The Gophers would go ahead and draw Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. For the second consecutive year, Minnesota bowed out in a game decided on penalty kicks after playing 120 minutes to a 2-2 draw.

Despite exiting the tournament early for the second-straight season, the Gophers received a NCAA Tournament bid and would host Kentucky. Minnesota trumped the Wildcats 6-0 behind junior Nicole Lee's one goal and three assist performance.

Four days later, the Maroon & Gold traveled to Portland, Ore. to face No. 5 Portland. The Pilots used a five-minute span of the second half to score all their goals in a 3-0 victory.

Minnesota closed out the season with a 14-6-1 overall record and went 5-4-0 in the Big Ten. The Gophers, who historically play very well at home, went 6-3 at St. Paul Campus Soccer Field, which at the time was the most home losses in program history.

Four Gopher players were honored at the end of the season with All-Great Lakes Region honors. Lee was the lone Gopher to receive first team honors while Seidl and Vanessa Touset were named to the second team. Rackley was chosen to the Great Lakes Region All-Rookie team.

Lee, Seidl and Touset, all who served as co-captains for the Gophers, also were named first team, All-Big Ten. Lee earned first-team honors after being a second-team pick last season. She led the Big Ten in goals and points. Seidl, the Big Ten's Newcomer of the Year in 1997, earned first-team honors after finishing second in the conference in goals and third in points. Touset was named to the first team for the second consecutive year.

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