Aug. 24, 2011
Coming of a home opener where the University of Minnesota women's soccer team controlled nearly all facets of the game, head coach Mikki Denney Wright and her squad hop back on the road for a pair of matches in California. The Golden Gophers open up their West Coast road trip Friday night against San Diego State at 6 p.m. (CST) at the SDSU Sports Deck.
Last Time Out
The Gophers garnered its first win of the season by thumping South Dakota State 5-0. Freshman forward Taylor Uhl stole the show in the home opener by tallying the program's 11th hat trick in its 19-year history. She is only the third freshman to accomplish the feat in Minnesota history (Jennifer Walek, 1993 and Erin Hussey, 1993). Goalkeeper Cat Parkhill joined in on the momentous day by notching an assist on Uhl's first goal. Parkhill's assist is the first for a keeper since Molly Schneider recorded one on September 4, 2005 against Texas Tech.
Scouting San Diego State
San Diego State (1-1-0) began its season with a 1-0 home win against Arizona, but dropped a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker versus California.
The Aztecs return seven starters from last year's squad that went 8-10-3 in a 2010 season that saw a number of season ending injuries. This season, San Diego State has been tagged as the favorites to win the Mountain West crown. Cat Walker is one of those coming off a 2010 injury, but the sixth-year senior shows no sign of rust by notching each of the team's goals this season, which helped her become the Mountain West Co-Offensive Player of the Week. SDSU also adds a trio of experienced D-I transfers this season in Sophie Metz (UCLS), Jensen Skinner (Arizona) and Kory Spotts (UNC Greensboro).
San Diego State has won the lone meeting between the two foes, which was a 2-1 defeat of the Gophers on October 30, 1994 in San Diego, Calif.
Minnesota travels to UC Santa Barbara to close out its West Coast road trip with a Sunday morning match, according to PST, at Harder Stadium versus the Gauchos at 1:30 p.m. (CST).
Scaling the Mountains
The Gophers are 6-3 all-time versus schools that are associated with the Mountain West Conference.
Entering Hostile Territory
San Diego State has been a force at the SDSU Sports Deck posting a 6-1 record in its last seven matches.
Polling the Nation
After starting the season ranked No. 22 in the National Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll, the Golden Gophers (1-1-0) have now dropped out of the rankings after losing 1-0 to the now No. 4/5-ranked Maryland in its season opener and demolishing South Dakota State in its home opener 5-0. The Maroon and Gold are receiving votes in both the NSCAA and SoccerTimes.com polls.
Playing on a Round Field
Not only has the offense been potent thus far this season, but the Golden Gophers' defense has been sturdy with only allowing one corner kick in two matches. The lone corner came late against the Jackrabbits.
Forward Taylor Uhl was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week and tagged as a member of the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week following her spectacular three-goal, one-assist performance against South Dakota State during the season opening weekend.
Follow the Action
Follow Friday night's match against San Diego State with GameTracker and our live blog.
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