#19 Golden Gophers Win Big In Opener, 4-0 Minnesota opened the 2009 season with a 4-0 win against South Dakota State.
St. Paul, Minn. - The University of Minnesota soccer team held quite the welcome back party this evening (Aug. 21) as they took to the field for the first time since last season's post season run. In the home and season opener at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, Minnesota scored two goals each in the first and second half to walk away with a 4-0 victory over visiting South Dakota State.
"I think it was a pretty good start for us," said head coach Mikki Denney Wright after the match. "We got to see some things, I think there is definitely a lot of areas we want to improve on, so that's what you get in a first game, but I think it was a good start."
Ranked #19 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top-25 poll heading into the match, the Golden Gophers wasted little time getting on the board. Junior Angie Olson (Eagan, Minn.) corralled a long pass from Molly Rouse (Cambridge, Minn.) in front of the goal and knocked home the first score just 4:10 into the match.
The goal was the first of her career for Olson, and would go on to stand as the game-winner. When asked how it felt scoring her first career goal in such fashion Olson said, "Really awesome, it was really great to go out there and just get it right away, and start off the game right."
Not 20 minutes in the opening frame, Katie Bethke (Eau Claire, Wis.) put Minnesota up 2-0, scoring on a lazer shot from the top of the penalty box. Unassisted, Bethke gained control of a loose ball, and beat the Jackrabbit goalkeeper to her left. After the ball sailed by the keeper's out stretched hands, it hit off the upright and bounced across the opening of the goal before settling in the back of the net. At the 17:02 mark, Minnesota was up 2-0.
The Golden Gophers controlled the remainder of the half, despite being held out of the goal. Heading into the locker rooms, Minnesota held an 8-to-2 advantage in shots.
The fast start in the first half, carried over as Minnesota tacked on some more insurance early in the second period. Again, less than five minutes had ticked off the clock, but this time is was Tamara Strahota (Burnsville, Minn.) beating the Jackrabbit goalkeeper. Strahota took a lob pass in the box from Julie Rezac (Eden Prairie, Minn.) before firing off the shot for the score. Strahota's goal came at the 49:33 mark to put Minnesota up 3-0.
After taking a three-point lead, the Golden Gophers continued to keep the pressure on, scoring again at the 52:43 mark. Rouse unleashed a corner kick that teammate Kylie Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.) out-jumped the opposition for. Kallman got up, and connected on a header for the final 4-0 tally.
After notching 17 shutouts last season, Minnesota tabs yet another in the opener in 2009. "I'm really impressed with our back three," said Denney Wright. "Krystle Kallman's trained them so far this preseason; she's done an outstanding job. And we just lost Krystle from that group and we had two returners, but I think they look like they're in a pretty good spot."
The win is the 13th straight at the Robbie for the Golden Gophers, extending their record home winning-streak. It is also their 12th straight win in regular season non-conference matches, dating back to the 2007 season.
At 1-0-0, the Golden Gophers take their act south next weekend for a pair of matches with #18 Georgia and Kennesaw State on Aug. 28 and 30 respectively. Game times are 7:00 p.m. on the 28th and 1:00 p.m. on the 30th.