The University of Minnesota women’s soccer program kicks off fall practice with their annual Maroon and Gold game at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium at 6:00 tonight.
“We’re excited to start the season,” head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “This time of year is so important for team development and it’s great for our coaching staff to see these kids playing together for the first time in a long time. We’re excited to see this group come together.”
Fall practice begins with a sense of urgency, as the Gophers are led by an accomplished group of eight seniors this season. The Gopher seniors, who have tallied 327 starts, 473 shots, 148 points and 52 goals in their collective careers, will look to lead a team that made its second Big Ten Tournament appearance in three seasons in 2007.
The Maroon and Gold game this evening will mark the first Gopher appearance for freshmen Shari Eckstrom (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Cat Parkhill (Apple Valley, Minn.), Josie Solie (Mahtomedi, Minn.) and Tamara Strahota (Burnsville, Minn.). Also appearing for the first time in maroon and gold is senior Krystle Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.) who transfers to Minnesota from a West Virginia program she led to an NCAA Elite Eight appearance a year ago.
Central to the Gophers’ hopes for a breakthrough season is their opportunity to play 10 games at home at The Robbie’ this season, where they drew more fans per home contest than any Big Ten school a year ago. Minnesota’s average home crowd of 1,034 also ranked 18th in the nation.
Minnesota soccer will kick off the University of Minnesota 2008-09 athletic slate when they host Northern Iowa in their season opener at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie on Aug. 22 at 7:00. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-U-GOPHER or by calling the Gopher ticket office at 612-624-8080. The game can also be watched live in the Gold Zone.