Minnesota Hosts Season Finale
Oct. 30, 2013
REGULAR SEASON FINALE
The Golden Gophers will host Big Ten foe, Illinois, in the regular season finale on Thursday (Oct. 31) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Just a year ago, the Illini eliminated Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament after edging the Gophers in PK's during the quarterfinals match in Bloomington, Ind. The match on Thursday will breed the same intensity as the Illini are looking for a victory to guarentee qualification into the Big Ten Tournament. Currently, Illinois sits in a tie for seventh with Iowa and Wisconsin and will be lookingt for a win to secure their spot in the tournament which they will host next weekend in Champaign, Ill.
The Golden Gophers came away from the last regular season road trip with two important conference wins. Last Thursday, the Gophers battled their border rivalry, Wisconsin, through 108 scoreless minutes until sophomore forward Haley Halverson found the back of the net after beating the keeper thanks to co-captain Katie Thyken who slotted the ball from the endline. With Helverson's "golden" goal, the Gophers were able to leave Madison with a 1-0 victory.
Minnesota then traveled to Purdue on Sunday afternoon where Thyken and freshman forward, Simone Kolander, were able to team up twice to put the Gophers up 2-1 over the Boilmakers. This sweep of a weekend put the Gophers in a tie for 5th place in the Big Ten with 14 points and gave Minnesota a far better chance at post-season conference tournament play.
B1G HONORS THYKEN & HOBBS
Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week - Katie Thyken
Junior co-captain, Thyken, scored two goals and collected one assist over the weekend for the Golden Gophers. She currently leads the team in goals for the seson with a career-high tying seven goals. She also has three assists on the season. This was her first career Big Ten offensive honor.
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week - Tarah Hobbs
Freshman goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs put another double digit weekend up for the Golden Gophers. With 10 saves in the match against Wisconsin, she was able to lead the Gophers to their seventh shutout of the season. She then tallied 12 goals in the 2-1 victory over Purdue bringing her to 22 on the weekend for Minnesota. The stand out freshman has 108 saves on the season putting her on the top five single season saves. This is her second defensive player of the week honor and her third overall honor for the Gophers.
The Big Ten is known for its tough competitive level. Depending on the day, it is any teams game to win. Going into the final game of the season, the Gophers take on Illinois with a 4-4-2 conference record. Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan and Indiana have already secured their positions in the Big Ten Tournament and the Golden Gophers are looking to solidify their spot as well. The Gophers now have seven goals in conference play and are looking to add a few more before seasons end.
PUSH TO POST SEASON PLAY
The Gophers are looking to clench a spot in the Big Ten Tournament and earn an NCAA Tournament berth after being knocked out by Illinois in the conference tournament and then narrowly missing the NCAA tournament last season. The Gophers are now 5-4 on the road and have found a way to win at home throughout the season posting a 6-1-2 record at the Robbie with their only loss being to nationally ranked and current Big Ten leader, Nebraska. The Gophers will look to defend the Robbie for the finale Thursday afternoon.
Shots: Haley Helverson/Katie Thyken (29)
Shots on Goal: Katie Thyken (16)
Goals: Katie Thyken (7)
Assists: Simone Kolander (5)
ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL
The Gophers have found a way to bring the concept of "teamwork" alive on the field each and every game. The Gophers have seen a vast variety of goal scorers this season as well as scoring opportunities created by different players each time. The Gophers have allowed the element of surprise in their game because no one knows who will step up during that specific game. The Gophers have had twelve different players with goals and/or assists.
DEFENDING THE ROBBIE
With the reputation of being a tough home team, the Golden Gophers are looking to take advantage of their ten home games this fall. Last weekend, the Gophers had two victories at home bringing their overall record on their home pitch to 128-51-12. Minnesota looks to extend that home win count when they meet Iowa and Nebraska next weekend at the Robbie.
Thursday afternoon's match against Illinois will be on the Big Ten Network live from Minneapolis beginning at 2 p.m. CT. You can also follow the match via Twitter by following @GopherSoccer and tuning into our live game day blog.
FINALE AT THE ROBBIE
Thursday, Oct. 31 - Illinois - 2 p.m.
Gopher FANatic Day: Come out and show your support for your D1 state soccer team.
Present a valid college/university I.D. and receive free admission to today's game.
(Valid for students from ALL Minnesota colleges/universities)
Student Day: Halloween Costume Relay Races
Costume Contest: Dress up and win! Best costume wins a Gopher Prize Pack!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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