This Weekend The University of Minnesota women's soccer team hits the road for the first time in the 2012 season as they head to California for a pair of matches. The Golden Gophers will first play a regular NCAA Tournament participant in San Diego on Friday night at 7 p.m. CST. The Maroon & Gold will then head north for Los Angeles, Calif. and play USC on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. CST.
Scouting San Diego San Diego is coming off a Sweet 16 season and a WCC Championship. The Toreros are 1-2-0 to begin the 2012 season with their lone victory coming Wednesday night against No. 12 Texas A&M. They play at Torero Stadium, which is the home of the 2012 NCAA College Cup.
Scouting USC USC is coming off a 7-13-0 season and is one of the most youthful teams in the nation. They are currently 1-0-0 this year after defeating Cal State Fullerton last weekend. The Trojans play Saint Mary's on Friday night before hosting the Gophers.
No Sophomore Slump Sophomore Taylor Uhl has taken off from where she left off last season as she has two goals and an assist through two games this season. Last weekend, Uhl tied Minnesota records in consecutive games with a goal (six) and consecutive games with a point (seven). On Wednesday, the Eden Prairie, Minn. native was tagged the Primetime Player of the Week by College Soccer 360.
Freshman Notches Golden Goal Freshman Haley Helverson, who was the lone first-year player to start last weekend, notched her first-career goal on Sunday against South Carolina. Helverson's score was in the 96th minute of play, and it clinched the Gophers' first win of the season. (Release)
Early Risers In each of the Gophers' games this season, they have snagged the lead within the first eight minutes of play. On Friday against Florida State, Uhl scored in the sixth minute to go up 1-0 while Katie Thyken followed one minute later to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead. Uhl again grabbed a 1-0 lead for Minnesota on Sunday when she tallied a score in the second minute of play.
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.
Golan snagged her first career victory as the Gopher head coach last Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 24 South Carolina. (Release)
Return of the Freshman Phenom Now a sophomore, 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.
The Golden Gophers kicked off the 2012 season on August 17 as they welcomed NCAA College Cup participant No. 4 Florida State to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. It was the third-straight season that Minnesota 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.
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.