The Gophers (17-2-0, 7-2-0) can gain a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a win tonight as they travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes (9-9-1, 3-5-1) in the Big Ten finale. With a win tonight, the Gophers would be co-Big Ten regular season champs with No. 21 Penn State, who lost by a 1-0 score to Ohio State earlier this afternoon.
Scouting the Gophers
No. 25 Minnesota recorded a pair of home victories during the last full weekend of Big Ten conference regular season play, beating Wisconsin 2-1 and dispatching Northwestern 2-0 in St. Paul. With the pair of wins, Minnesota finishes their home schedule with a 10-0 record and becomes the first team in school history to boast a perfect home record. This season, the Gophers outscored opponents by a staggering 20-1 margin at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
Clare Grimwood (Eagan, Minn.) had a big weekend for the Gophers, finishing with two goals and an assist. Grimwood’s left-footed blast from 25 yards out midway through the second half turned out to be the game winner on Friday night. On Sunday, the senior’s goal in the 78th minute helped the Gophers nail down a 2-0 win. Grimwood also added an assist on teammate Kaitlin Wagner’s (Plymouth, Minn.) goal that gave Minnesota an early 1-0 advantage on Friday night.
Freshman forward Tam Strahota (Burnsville, Minn.) also played well as she made her first two collegiate starts. Strahota put together her first career three-point performance in the Gophers’ 2-0 win over Northwestern on Sunday. Strahota’s breakaway goal midway through the second half was her fourth score of the season. All four of Strahota’s goals this season have been of the game-winning variety. Strahota also assisted on Grimwood’s second goal of the weekend in the 78th minute against Northwestern.
Lindsey Schwartz (Bettendorf, Iowa) continues to be an offensive force for Minnesota, leading the team with 16 points (6 G, 4 A) through 19 games. Schwartz is tied for the Big Ten lead with four assists during the conference season.
Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare (Apple Valley, Minn.) continues her assault on the record books after recording her program-best 14th shutout of the season on Sunday against the Wildcats. Dare’s 0.36 goals against average this season leads the Big Ten by a wide margin and ranks fourth nationally.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes are getting comfortable at the Iowa Soccer Complex these days as they host the Gophers on what will be the second of three consecutive weekends playing in Iowa City for the Hawkeyes. Iowa will host this season’s Big Ten Tournament in Iowa City next weekend. Although Iowa earns an automatic bid to the Big Ten Tournament, the Hawkeyes are still trying to solidify their second consecutive top-eight Big Ten finish under third year head coach Ron Rainey. Rainey took over a program in 2006 that had won only one conference game in the three years preceeding his arrival. Since then, Rainey has led a turnaround that has a youthful Iowa squad on track for its second consecutive .500 season.
Freshman Alyssa Cosnek and sophomore Keli McLaughlin have led Iowa on the offensive end this year. McLaughlin’s 20 points (7 G, 6A) are tied for seventh-most in the Big Ten while Cosnek is tied for fourth in the conference with eight goals. Veteran senior forward Stephanie Hyink (Temecula, Calif.) has netted five goals and tallied two assists this season and has 42 career points. Hyink scored the game-winner in the Hawkeyes’ 1-0 triumph over the Gophers in St. Paul last season in a game that was the 2007 regular season finale.
Emily Moran, another freshman, has been the Hawkeyes’ primary goalkeeper this season. The Kent, Ohio native owns the Big Ten’s sixth-best GAA (1.06) and her .831 save percentage ranks third in the conference. Sophomore Kali Feiereisel has also seen time between the pipes this season, recording a 1.08 GAA and a .781 save percentage while logging 581:39.
Rainey’s team comes into the weekend after splitting matches with Northwestern and Wisconsin in Iowa City last weekend. After suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to the Wildcats on Friday night, the Hawkeyes bounced back with a 3-0 win over Wisconsin on Sunday.
grimwood earns big ten potw accolades
Clare Grimwood’s five-point weekend against the Badgers and Wildcats earned her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week accolades. Grimwood is the fifth Gopher to be honored by the conference with a weekly award this season. Lindsey Dare (Sept. 1), Jennie Clark (Sept. 8), Kelsey Hood (Sept. 22) and Krystle Kallman (Oct. 13) have also been honored this season. Minnesota is the only school in the conference that has had more than three players win a weekly award this year.
Big Ten Race Taking Shape
After accumuling a 7-2 league record, the Gophers have assured themselves of at least a second-place finish in the final Big Ten regular season standings and will be the second seed for the Big Ten Tournament next weekend in Iowa City. The Gophers can still earn a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a win on Friday and a loss by Penn State to Ohio State in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions are pursuing their 11th consecutive Big Ten regular season crown.
Home Sweet Home
With their win Sunday over Northwestern, the Gophers finished the season with a perfect 10-0 record at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. A crowd of 329 braved the elements on Sunday afternoon and helped the program set a new single-season attendance record. A total of 9,218 Gopher soccer fans walked through the gates at The Robbie’ this season, breaking the previous record of 9,040 set in 1999.
Gopher 'D' Making History
Led by starting defenders Kylie Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.), Jennie Clark (Norfolk, Iowa) and Krystle Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.), the Minnesota defense has put up some eye-popping numbers this season. The Gophers are approaching records for defensive dominance in season goals allowed, goals allowed per game, and shutouts.
Penn State’s 2000 team set Big Ten records with 11 goals allowed, a 0.42 goals against per game average and 17 shutouts. This season, the Gophers have allowed just seven goals, own a 0.37 goals against per game average and have earned 14 shutouts.