|| Minnesota vs. Illinois/Northwestern
Oct. 11, 2012
This weekend marks the final homestand of the 2012 regular season for the Minnesota women's soccer team. The Gophers looks to improve in the Big Ten when they host Illinois on Friday at 7 p.m. and Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The women's soccer program will host a Breast Cancer Awareness even Friday night when the Illini come to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The festivities continue against Northwestern on Sunday with the team celebrating Senior Day by honoring Olivia Bagnall, Nicole Baier, Cat Parkhill, Allie Phillips, Marissa Price, Tamara Strahota, and Jackie Voigt.
Janet Rayfield returns for her 11th year as head coach of the Illini after leading the team to a Big Ten Tournament Championship and a NCAA Tournamanet second round appearance in 2011.
Currently ranking third in the Big Ten, Illinois enters the weekend after a thrilling, come-from-behind victory (3-2) over Michigan State. Vanessa DiBernardo notched a hat trick in the competition to be named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Minnesota trails 6-9-2 in the all-time series against the Illini. Illinois took the last meeting by a 1-0 score, but Minnesota holds a slight 2-1-2 lead in the competition since 2007.
Led by first-year head coach Michael Moynihan, Northwestern comes into the week still searching for their first win in Big Ten Conference play. The Wildcats sit with a 4-8-2 overall record, with the four wins coming early in the first seven matches of the season.
Junior Kate Allen leads the team with six goals and three assists on the season while goalkeepers Rachel Bergman and Anna Cassell have split time in the goal this year.
Since first competing in 1994, the Gophers have dominated the all-time series against the Wildcats for a 14-6-1 advantage. Minnesota is undefeated against Northwestern since 2007.
Breast Cancer Awareness Day
Friday's match against Illinois will also serve as Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The Maroon and Gold are going pink and pairing with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise funds for research and awareness for the cause. Fans are encouraged to donate for a chance to win a pink soccer jersey, autographed by the Gopher squad. A post-game autograph session will also take place after the final buzzer.
Senior Day Celebration
As the final home game of the season, Sunday's match-up against Northwestern is also Senior Day. The 2012 roster boasts seven individuals that are competing in their final season this fall. Nicole Baier, Olivia Bagnall, Cat Parkhill, Allie Phillips, Marissa Price, Tamara Strahota, and Jackie Voigt will be celebrated for their accomplishments and contributions to the Golden Gophers during a presentation at halftime.
Minnesota has been forced into overtime five times this season, and they have been triumphant only once, which came against then-No. 24 South Carolina. In the three losses and single draw, the Maroon & Gold held a distinct shot attempt and shot-on goal advantage over their opponents.
Sophomore Taylor Uhl has been a huge part in the Gophers' success this season, having 13 goals and eight assists. She holds the top position in the league in points (34), a statistic that ranks her third nationally. Uhl has been able to accomplish these marks due to notching two hat tricks already this season while also setting records for consecutive matches with a goal (nine) and a point (13).
In the History Books
During her tenure with the Gophers, senior Cat Parkhill has carved her name into the Minnesota record books. Coming into the weekend, she sits atop the all-time list in goalkeeper minutes played with 7088:25. She also ranks second with a 0.99 career goals-against-average, second with 42 career wins, and third with 253 career saves.
Defending the Robbie
The Golden Gophers have proven over their 20 seasons as a program that it is tough for opponents to pullout a road victory. Over the 20-year span, Minnesota is 119-51-12 on their home pitch, which is a .654 winning percentage.
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.
Taking Over the Reigns
The Golden Gophers are under new leadership for the 2012 season as former head coach Mikki Denney Wright resigned to commit more time to her family. Insert new head coach Stefanie Golan, who was formerly at Army for three seasons. Golan led the Black Knights to a 33-18-10 record in three seasons while also guiding them to a NCAA Tournament berth in 2011, which was only the second in program history.