Big Ten/Big 12 Spring Challenge
Golden Gopher Soccer will close out the spring season by hosting the Big Ten/Big 12 Spring Challenge at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, and admission is FREE to the entire event. The Challenge will feature four teams playing four games the morning and afternoon of Apr. 24. Joining Minnesota in representing the Big Ten will be the neighbors to the south, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and representing the Big 12 will be the Iowa State Cyclones and the Kansas Jayhawks. This is the first of what is expected to be an annual event between the two conferences.
The Gophers ended the 2009 season with a 12-5-3 record on the season, and finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 5-3-2 league record. Iowa wrapped up 2009 at 9-11 overall and 11th in the Big Ten with a 1-9 mark. Kansas finished the season 12-8 overall with a 4-6 record in the Big 12 while Iowa State was 7-9-4 and 2-8 in conference play. KU and ISU placed 9th and 11th in the Big 12 respectively.
In their spring season, the Gophers have seen much success on the pitch. Their first match-up came on Mar. 7 against Missouri, with the Minnesota defense throwing a shutout in a 0-0 tie. Next up was a pair of games in North Carolina with ACC squads Duke and Wake Forest. The Gophers first suffered a 3-1 loss to the Blue Devils on Mar. 27, but came back on Mar. 28 for a 1-0 win over the Demon Deacons to earn a split on the trip. Most recently, Minnesota went down to play Nebraska on Apr. 17 and came away with an impressive 4-2 win to hold a 2-1-1 spring record heading into the weekend.
Last Season at the Spring Challenge
2010 marks the first season of the Big Ten/Big 12 format at the Spring Challenge, but it is not the first time hosting the event for the Gophers. Last season the Gophers hosted Drake, Nebraska and North Dakota State for a four game set to close out the spring season. Minnesota opened with a 1-1 tie with Nebraska, before closing with an impressive 3-0 win over Drake.
Best in the U.S.
The Gophers will be without two of their stars on Saturday, as Katie Bethke and Jennie Clark will be at the United States U23 training camp in Oregon. The two are among 24 top college players invited to the week-long camp, that got under way on Apr. 18. Clark was a First Team All-Big Ten and First Team All-Region performer last season while Bethke earned Second Team All-Big Ten and Third Team All-Region honors.
Spring Challenge Schedule
Saturday, April 24
9:30 a.m. Iowa v. Iowa State
11:15 a.m. Kansas v. Minnesota
2:00 p.m. Iowa v. Kansas
3:45 p.m. Iowa State v. Minnesota
FREE admission to all games.
Games will be 70:00 minutes (35:00 min. halves) with a 10:00 minute intermission. If a match is tied at the end of regulation, then teams will go into a penalty kick shootout as per NCAA post-season rules. Teams will earn three points for a win, two points for a shootout win, one out for a shootout loss, and no points for a loss. Tiebreakers to crown a champion of the Challenge will be:
1) Head to Head
2) Best Goal Differential
3) Most Goals For
4) Least Goals Against
5) Most SOG for the Tournament
6) Most Corner Kicks for the Tournament
7) Most GK Saves for the Tournament
An All-Tournament Team will be selected at the conclusion of this event, honoring the best performers. After the fourth game has ended Saturday afternoon, a team of the 11 best will be selected from a pool of coaches nominations. There will also be an Offensive and Defensive MVP named from the pool of candidates.
Gophers' Spring Results
Mar. 07 Missouri, 0-0, T
Mar. 27 Duke, 1-3, L
Mar. 28 Wake Forest, 1-0, W
Apr. 17 Nebraska, 4-2, W