The University of Minnesota women's soccer team kicks off the 2012 campaign and their first season under head coach Stefanie Golan this weekend at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The Golden Gophers season opener is against No. 4 Florida State on Friday at 7 p.m. The Maroon & Gold then turn around for a Sunday match at noon with No. 24 South Carolina.
2010 Recap Minnesota posted a 9-10-2 overall record while going 5-4-2 in the Big Ten, which put them in a fifth in the conference standings. However, wins and losses didn't tell the entire story for the Golden Gophers. Eight of the Gophers' 10 losses were by a single goal, including six coming at the hands of NCAA Tournament participants. (Release)
Taking Over the Reigns The Golden Gophers are under new leadership for the 2012 season as former head coach Mikki Denney Wright resigned to committ more time to her family. Insert new head coach Stefanie Golan, who was formerly at Army for three seasons.
While at Army, Golan served two seasons as the program's associate head coach before being named the head coach in January 2009. In her three seasons in charge, Golan led Army to an impressive 33-18-10 overall record.
The St. Louis, Mo., native has proven to be a defensive mastermind as a head coach, with the Black Knights recording 38 total shutouts the past three seasons. Army has also ranked Top 10 in the NCAA the past two years in shutout percentage, goals against average and save percentage. (Release)
Return of the Freshman Phenom Now a sophomore, Taylor Uhl looks to build off last season's success on the pitch of being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a unanimous All-Freshmen Team member. The Eden Prairie, Minn. native tallied 34 points while notching 15 goals last fall, both which are tied second in Minnesota history for a freshman.
Strahota Back for a Fifth-Year After suffering a lower leg injury before the 2011 season, senior Tamara Strahota returns this year for a fifth season. The Burnsville, Minn. was a decorated player prior to her injury with being named a Freshman All-American in 2008 and scoring 41 points in her three playing seasons. With being an athletic and speedy defender, Strahota will be looked at to lead the Gopher defense.
2012 Schedule The Maroon & Gold prepare for arguably their toughest schedule in program history. The Golden Gophers schedule features 12 home games and seven road tests. Minnesota will face a total of five opponents that reached the NCAA Tournament last season. It will be the third-straight season that Minnesota has opened up a season against a Top 5 team in the country (2010: No. 4 Notre Dame; 2011: No. 5 Maryland). (Release)
Playing with Experience The Maroon & Gold will field an array of experience this fall as they return nine starters from the 2011 squad. In addition to those players, the Gophers get fifth-year senior Tamara Strahota back after she suffered a leg injury in 2011.
Defending the Robbie With the stereotype of being a tough home team, the Golden Gophers look to take advantage of their 12 home games this fall. In Gopher soccer history, the squad is 113-48-11 (.689) on their home pitch. If that trend remains the same during 2012, Minnesota will garner at least eight wins at ELR, which puts them one behind last season's win total.
20th Year Anniversary This fall marks the 20th-year anniversary for Golden Gopher soccer. In that time, the Maroon & Gold have reached the NCAA Tournament seven times and garnered three Big Ten Championships.
Walek Inducted into `M' Club Hall of Fame Gopher great Jennifer Walek has been selected as the first Gopher soccer player to be inducted into Minnesota's `M' Club Hall of Fame, which honors the most prestigious and deserving Gopher athletes of all-time. Walek played from 1993-97 and currently holds Minnesota's career and season single points and goals records. (Release)
Weekend Promotions Friday's match against FSU is Facebook Day. "Like" the Gophers on Facebook and utilize the promo code at MyGopherSports.com to purchase a $4 ticket. The promotion is only good if tickets are purchased in advance.
On Sunday, it is Family Fun Day, which showcases pre-match games and activities for all. (Promotions)