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.

Blog: Looking Back on 20 Years of Soccer - 1993

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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.

Our first installment of this summer-long series will take us back to where it all started, the inaugural season in 1993.

Schedule/Results l Roster l Statistics l Photo Gallery

The University of Minnesota embarked on a new era in the fall of 1993, when the Golden Gophers women's soccer team took the pitch for the first time. Head coach Sue Montagne and a youthful Gopher squad would go on to post a 13-6 record in the inaugural season and go 3-2 against future Big Ten Conference schools. (The Big Ten didn't recognize women's soccer as a conference sport until the 1994 season.)

Minnesota began its inaugural year on September 4 at Bierman Track & Field and Soccer Stadium when the Golden Gophers hosted Creighton in front of 455 spectators. Although, the Maroon & Gold lost 3-2, they built a reputation as an intense program as they surprised the Bluejays by jumping out to a 2-0 first-half lead. Freshman Jennifer Walek scored Minnesota's first goal in school history when her crossing pass from the right side was aided by the wind and floated over the head of the Creighton goalkeeper. Walek also recorded the Gophers' first assist when she contributed on senior Anne Meitz's goal late in the first half to put the Gophers up 2-0.

Go Gophers! Jennifer Walek
Go Gophers!
Jennifer Walek
Go Gophers!
The Golden Gophers' fist win came three days later when Minnesota defeated Macalester 4-1 at home. Sophomore Gretchen Brandt produced the program's first hat trick in the win. Brandt matched her efforts the following weekend at the Wisconsin-Green Bay Classic as she notched another hat trick by tallying three first half goals to assist the Gophers in defeating Northern Illinois, 4-3.

After dropping their next game to Green Bay, Minnesota would go on a five-game winning streak, including a pair of victories against future Big Ten participants Indiana and Michigan State. Walek started the streak off hot as she capped a hat trick against Valparaiso in the first of five games. The streak was snapped on October 1 in a 1-0 overtime loss to a familiar foe in Creighton. The defeat put the Gophers at 7-3 through the first 10 games of the season.

The thriving first-year program soon ran into 17th-ranked Wisconsin, who was in its 13th season of collegiate soccer, on October 8 and suffered a 5-0 setback. Despite getting shutout by the rival Badgers, Minnesota rebounded and constructed a four-game winning streak with all four opponents being shutout by the Gophers. In the first game of the streak, which was against St. Thomas, freshman Erin Hussey tallied a hat trick.

Minnesota closed out the year by dropping two of its final three contests. Walek would record her second hat trick of the season against Marquette on October 30 in the Gophers' lone win during that three-game span.

As a team, the 1993 club has the highest goals per game average in school history (3.42) along with ranking second in points with 174.

Walek was a large part of the offensive burst from the Gophers as she finished the year as the team leader in points with 53 behind 22 goals and nine assists. For her efforts, she finished tied for fifth in the country in scoring and was a second team NSCAA/UMBRO All-Central Region honoree. The forward's point and goal totals still are the most in a single season for any Gopher.

Brandt finished second on the team in scoring with 36 points behind 15 goals and six assists. She missed the national scoring chart by three points but finished 14th in the Central Region in scoring. Brandt point total also sits fourth in Minnesota history.

In goal for the Gophers for most of the year was freshman Teresa O'Hearn. O'Hearn started 13 of the team's 19 games and allowed 25 goals while recording 73 saves. O'Hearn accounted for 2.5 of Minnesota's shutouts on the year while fellow freshman keeper Jami Philip garnered 5.5 shutouts in her six starts.

Uhl Recognized as Top 100 Newcomers

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University of Minnesota freshman Taylor Uhl was recognized by TopDrawerSoccer.com as one of the Top 100 freshman in the country on Friday. The Gopher forward was tabbed as the 36th freshman in the nation, and she is accompanied by eight other players from the Big Ten Conference.

Go Gophers! Taylor Uhl
Go Gophers!
Uhl has been named one of the Top 100 freshman in the NCAA.
Go Gophers!
The Eden Prairie, Minn. native has made a huge impact on the 2011 Golden Gopher squad as she leads the team in points (23), goals (10) and game-winning goals (4). Her 23 points this season rank her sixth all-time for a Minnesota freshman while her 10 goals rank her fourth all-time for a Gopher newcomer.

On Monday, Uhl was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for her four point (one goal, two assists) weekend in the Gophers' weekend split with Indiana and Purdue. It's the second time this year that Uhl has received the honor with the first coming on August 22, due to her hat trick performance against South Dakota State in the opening week of the season.

The player rankings released by TopDrawerSoccer.com are based on a formula which involved playing time, level of competition, productivity and feedback from coaches around the league. Texas A&M's Kelly Monogue received the nod as the No. 1 freshman while Stanford's Chioma Ubogagu and Virginia's Morgan Brian round out the Top 3.

In this post, I will discuss the various scenarios that need to happen for Minnesota to earn a spot in the Big Ten Conference Tournament that will take place November 2-5 in Evanston, Ill.

With one regular season match left, the Golden Gopher women's soccer team is on the cusp of grabbing a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Friday night's match against Nebraska is the biggest game of the season, and it not only has postseason implication for the Gophers and Huskers, but also for the four other teams (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue) fighting for the final three spots in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament. Ironically enough, only the Minnesota-Nebraska game features a matchup of squads in that group looking to punch their ticket to Evanston, Ill.

Go Gophers! Team Celebration
Go Gophers!
Gophers celebrate after a goal versus Ohio State.
Go Gophers!

First off, let me inform everyone about who has already clinched spots for the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State has snagged the No. 1 seed by going undefeated in the Big Ten thus far this season. Illinois follows the Nittany Lions at the No. 2 seed.

The No. 3 and 4 seeds are spoken for by Wisconsin and Michigan State, but it is undecided which team will receive which seed. They both have 18 points heading into their final match, so if they each have the same outcome in their matches then Wisconsin will get the higher seed based on the two foes' head-to-head outcome with the Badgers beating the Spartans 2-1 earlier this season.

The last team to solidify a spot in the tournament is Northwestern, who is last in the Big Ten, but since they are hosting the tournament, they receive an automatic bid.

Now we will get into what happens with the Maroon and Gold if they win, lose or draw. Before I explain them, be aware that the Gophers hold the tie breaker over Michigan and Iowa while Ohio State and Purdue hold the tie breaker versus the Maroon and Gold.

The first scenario is the simplest: win and you're in! With a Minnesota win over Nebraska, the Gophers will clinch a No. 5 seed in the tournament. The win would also eliminate Nebraska from qualifying.

Things get a little bit tricky if the Golden Gophers lose to the Huskers. For Minnesota to slip in the backdoor of the tournament, they need 3-of-4 things to happen:

        -  Michigan draws or loses to Illinois
        -  Purdue loses to Penn State
        -  Ohio State loses to Indiana
        -  Iowa loses to Wisconsin
                -  If Iowa draws with Wisconsin, then all other scenarios must happen

These scenarios are the only ways that Minnesota can get in with a loss on Friday. If this is the route taken, the Gophers will either be the No. 6 or 7 seed based on which stipulations actually happen. The only definite thing about this situation is that Nebraska will receive a higher seed over the Maroon and Gold.

If the Gophers draw with the Huskers, the scenario is quite similar to a loss, but a few things change in favor of Minnesota. They need 2-of-4 things happen:

        -  Michigan draws or loses to Illinois
        -  Purdue draws or loses to Penn State
        -  Ohio State draws or loses to Indiana
        -  Iowa draws or loses to Wisconsin

If this scenario happens, Minnesota will for sure be in the tournament, but it is unsure at which seed. If 2-of-4 stipulations happen then they will be the No. 7 seed, but for each additional stipulation, the Gophers move up one spot with No. 5 being the best possible seed, which would happen if all four stipulations come true.

Like I said, it is a little tricky, but the Gophers have control of their own destiny unlike most of the schools still trying to get into the tournament. So the most basic way to inform people what needs to happen is: win and you're in, and that cancels out having to rely on other match outcomes to punch your ticket to Evanston, Ill.

Go Gophers!!


Here is a list of match times for the weekend:
Friday, October 28
Purdue at Penn State, 6 p.m.
Nebraska at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 29
Iowa at Wisconsin, 1 p.m.
Michigan at Illinois, 6 p.m.
Michigan State at Northwestern, 6 p.m.

Sunday, October 30
Indiana at Ohio State, 1 p.m.

Gopher Soccer and the Story of Ooosss

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By: Edwina Reckel

The University of Minnesota women's soccer team is one of the few and proud teams that calls St. Paul, Minn. home. They are also the first college soccer program to reach over 5,000 fans on Facebook, so should anyone be surprised that their cheer is something unique as well?

Ooosss!

Head coach Mikki Denney Wright says it in the locker room before the team takes the field. Players yell it in team huddles. Some loyal fans shout along with the team, but how many actually know the meaning behind this strange word?

Ooosss can be spelled many different ways, but the term comes from Japan and was originally said in karate, combat and other battles. The word is made up of two parts. The first is "Ooo", which translates "to push" with all of your effort. It symbolizes the "fighting spirit" and to push away obstacles with an undeterred, positive attitude. The second part, "sss", means "to endure" and persevere through pain and tough times. Combined it represents an individual's pledge to do one's best and endure.

"For me, oosss means that I'll bring my best if you bring your best," says sophomore Steph Brandt." Ooosss has become part of what it means to be a Golden Gopher women's soccer player. It's one of our team's eight basic values, simply stating-'we will have Ooosss".

As many of you know, Gopher soccer provides a game experience second to none. It's not about a huge venue or views of downtown. You buy tickets for the game from a shack where the ticket looks more like a pass to a carnival than a ticket to see an elite D-1 women's athletic team play. This season, parents rallied together to make a covered patio to protect the players from the constantly changing weather elements and of course, some tailgating. Many may be surprised that Minnesota soccer has more fans on Facebook than Golden Gopher football and Golden Gopher hockey. This kind of fan support is something we take pride in. Here at the Robbie we like staying true to our roots and focus on what matters...the game. When sitting in the stands, it feels like you are part of an inclusive community, something we like to call the "Gopher Soccer Family."  

So to the fiercely loyal Gopher soccer fans that cheer the team on through all of the games-from the blazing sun at the beginning of August to those frigid October nights, Ooosss.

To the passionate coaches that devote their time and efforts to put an exciting and competitive team on the pitch year in and year out, Ooosss.

And to the players who balance busy schedules filled with practices/games, classes, friends, family and the list goes on...

Ooosss!

In-game Blog: Minnesota at UC Santa Barbara

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The Golden Gophers (1-2-0) look to rebound against UC Santa Barbara (1-1-1) after a disappointing loss to San Diego State this past Friday night. The in-game blog will begin at 1:15 CST (11:15 PST).

In-game Blog: Minnesota at San Diego State

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Coming of a home opener where the University of Minnesota women's soccer team controlled nearly all facets of the game, head coach Mikki Denney Wright and her squad hop back on the road for a pair of matches in California. The Golden Gophers open up their West Coast road trip Friday night against San Diego State at 6 p.m. (CST) at the SDSU Sports Deck.

In-game Blog: South Dakota State at No. 22 Minnesota

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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 Series
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.

Let's Play Soccer!!

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After a two-hour weather delay, the teams have now taken the field and will play! They will at 30 minutes to warm up, so we are looking at a kickoff around 7:07 CST. Here is a little information about tonight's match between the No. 22 Golden Gophers and the No. 5/6 Maryland Terrapins.

The 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.

UPDATE: Weather Delay

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Right now, we are in a weather delay here in College Park, Md. due to an abundance of lightning in the area. The coaches are meeting with the refs right now to determine if we can get this game in before it gets too late. More updates to follow.