Aug 14, 2013
The University of Minnesota women's soccer team kicked off their 2013 campaign last week as the Gophers began preseason practices.
The Gophers, off of a successful 2012 season with first-year head coach, Stefanie Golan, hope to improve on their overall record of 11-7-2. The Gophers finished their conference schedule with a conference record of 6-4-1 putting the team in fourth (tied with Illinois) in the Big Ten standings at the end of the season.
With a year under her belt, Golan and the young roster are looking to improve certain parts of their game in order to excel in the Big Ten. Only seven of the 23 on the roster are upperclassmen leaving room for growth as this team sets a foundation for years to come.
"Last season we weren't very good off of set pieces, corner kicks and free kicks," said senior captain, MacKenzie Misel. "This year in order to be successful in the Big Ten we need to excel at those points of the game. It'll be a new look and completely different from last year."
In June, the Gophers announced they would have four transfers that would be added to the roster for this fall. Allie Giddings, Jen Larrick, Olivia Schultz, and Taylor Stainbrook have all joined the Gopher family. The four transfers joined the eight incoming freshman which include Rashida Beal, Erin Booth, Mara Dougherty, Tarah Hobbs, Vanessa Johnston, Simone Kolander, Ashley Pafko and Josee Stiever.
With new additions to the team, Misel hopes to instill the idea of family and pride. "To me, it's a lot of hard work and pride," said Misel. "I always think about the girls that came here before me and the legacy that they left behind. Constantly improving to make them proud and make myself appreciate every opportunity I have here as a Gopher."
Junior captain, Katie Thyken, a standout midfielder for the Gophers, is looking forward to a successful season on and off the field. "We're a family," said Thyken. "We all work very hard to be here. We work very hard to get where we can be. We are very competitive. We're very excited, very willing to work and put in the effort and drive for those extra goals and wins. I'm really excited for that."
The first chance for Minnesota fans to catch the Gophers in action will be this Friday, August 16 at 7 p.m. as the Gophers host Green Bay at home in an exhibition game. The Gophers will kick off their regular season schedule at home the following Friday, August 23 at 7 p.m. against Toledo as a part of the Gopher Tournament featuring NDSU, Toledo and Illinois State. Conference play will not begin until September 21 when the Gophers travel to Indiana. The full schedule can be found here.
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