Oct. 26, 2011
The University of Minnesota's Friday night match against Nebraska is the biggest game of the season, and it not only has postseason implication for the Gophers and Huskers, but also for the four other teams (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue) fighting for the final three spots in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament.
The match is slated to kickoff at 7 p.m. at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Friday will be the final match at ELR Stadium for the 2011 senior class of Katie Roberts-Carlson, Shari Eckstrom, Alex Pafko and Josie Solie. At halftime, the quartet will be honored for their service and dedication to the Gopher soccer program.
Last Time Out
The Golden Gophers recorded another weekend split as they trumped Indiana 3-1 on Friday and dropped 2-1 to Purdue on Sunday. In Friday's match, the Hoosiers saw a balanced Minnesota attack as three different Gophers tallied a score (Nicole Baier, Shari Eckstrom and Katie Thyken). On Sunday, the Maroon and Gold fell into a 2-0 halftime deficit and attempted to pull off a second half comeback. Taylor Uhl would notch a goal in the 80th minute, but the comeback was too late as they lost 2-1.
The Huskers (7-9-1, 4-6-0 Big Ten), who are in their first year of playing in the Big Ten, come to St. Paul, Minn. in need of a win and little extra help from other teams to earn a spot in conference tournament. A loss or a draw would eliminate NU from advancing to Evansville, Ill.
Nebraska is led by junior All-American Morgan Marlborough who ranks fourth in the NCAA in points with 45. She has tallied 20 of the team's 40 goals on the season and has assisted on five others. Marlborough has scored in all but six matches this season for the Huskers.
Even though Nebraska has a potent offense, they are the third worst team in the Big Ten in goals allowed per game at 1.71. Emma Stevens is the Huskers' top goalkeeper as she has played all but 10 minutes this season. The sophomore keeper ranks fourth in the Big Ten in saves per game (4.65).
Minnesota welcomes Nebraska into ELR Stadium in search for their first-ever win over the Huskers. NU has won all five previous meetings with the last one being a 3-1 defeat of the Gophers in Lincoln, Neb. during the 2005 season. Friday's match will be the first time that neither team is ranked when facing one another.
Qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament
If the Maroon and Gold win against Nebraska, they claim the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament next week. With a loss or draw, various scenarios come into play. Head to the Gopher Soccer blog and read about each of Minnesota's scenarios for getting into the tournament.
Finishing On a High Note
The Golden Gophers have been known to finish each season strong as they have not capped off the regular season with a loss since 2007 when it fell to Iowa 1-0.
`One' Problem, Eight Times
With the Maroon and Gold's 2-1 loss to Purdue on Sunday, Minnesota has now dropped a school record eight matches by a goal differential of one. The previous most was seven which happened in 2005 and 2002 seasons.
Freshman Taylor Uhl has moved up to fourth all-time in Minnesota's record books last Sunday for goals by a freshman with 10. She also now ranks sixth in points by a freshman with 23.
Uhl Snags Another Honor
Taylor Uhl was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time last week for her four point weekend. The Eden Prairie, Minn. native tallied two assists in the 3-1 Friday night win over Indiana and then scored a goal in the 2-1 loss to Purdue on Sunday. She earned the same honor on August 22 for recording a hat trick against South Dakota State in the first weekend of the season.
Follow the Action
All home games and most road matches can be watched live by signing up for Gopher All-Access. Friday's match will be web streamed, but also head to GopherSports.com and check out the GameTracker link on the schedule page for live stats/updates.
For the latest and most updated information on Minnesota soccer, check out the team on Facebook (Golden Gopher Soccer) and Twitter (@GopherSoccer).
Get Score Updates on Your Phone
Fans can get scoring updates from all Golden Gopher athletics through the Twitter account @GopherScores. Just find and follow @GopherScores, then set up your phone or mobile device to receive text updates.
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