Minnesota Readies for Big Ten Tournament

Go Gophers! Shari Eckstrom
Go Gophers!
Shari Eckstrom
Go Gophers!

Oct. 31, 2011

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The University of Minnesota looks to prolong its season on Wednesday night as it faces longtime rival Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The two foes are the last pairing to play with the kickoff time slated for 7:30 p.m. in Evanston, Ill.

Last Time Out
With a spot in the Big Ten Tournament on the line, Minnesota displayed a huge offensive attack scoring six goals to Nebraska's three. The convincing Gopher victory clinched the fifth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Taylor Uhl tallied her second hat trick of the season and only the 12th in Minnesota history. Minnesota also received goals from Shari Eckstrom, Olivia Bagnall and Sheridan Reiners.

Scouting Wisconsin
The Badgers (10-6-3, 5-3-3 Big Ten) received the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament after falling at home to Iowa 2-0 this past Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Michigan State, who won Saturday night, were able to overtake Wisconsin for the three seed.

UW has a double-headed attack with freshman Cara Walls and senior Laurie Nosbusch. Walls leads the team in points (19) and goals (9) while Nosbusch leads the team in assists (6) and just behind the freshman with 18 points.

Redshirt-senior Michele Dalton will start in goal as she ranks near the top of the conference in almost all goalkeeping statistics. She has a goal allowed average of 0.91 (4th in Big Ten), 95 saves (4th in Big Ten) and six shutouts (tied for second in Big Ten).

The Series
Wisconsin carries the slight advantage in the all-time series that sits at 10-11-1. The lone draw came in the match earlier this season (2-2 at Wisconsin, 9-29-11). Gopher head coach Mikki Denney Wright has a record of 5-2-1 against the Badgers. The two foes are 1-1 against each other when playing in the Big Ten Tournament.

Last Meeting
After the Gophers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the 47th minute, Wisconsin tallied a pair of goals in the 59th and 62nd minute to even up the match. Following two overtimes, neither team could snag the lead, so the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Minnesota's scores were notched by Nicole Baier (23rd) and Taylor Uhl (47th).

Welcome Back Big Ten Tournament
The Big Ten Tournament is back for the first time since 2008. In 2008, the Maroon and Gold ran the table to win the regular season crown, but they fell in the championship match of the tournament to Penn State.

Incredi-"Uhl" Freshman
Freshman Taylor Uhl has made herself known across the conference as she has 30 points (13 goals, four assists) this season. She currently ranks eighth all-time in Minnesota history for goals in a single season (second among freshman) and is tied for 10th all-time in points (third among freshman).

Filling the Case
This week Uhl grabbed her third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor along with being tagged the conference Offensive Player of the Week. These awards make her count four for the season with the freshman honor being her third, which is tied for the most this season with Wisconsin's Cara Walls.

Eckstrom Creeps Up Records Book
Senior Shari Eckstrom currently sits 10th all-time in Minnesota history with 177 shots, but she is two shots away from surpassing Erin Hussey for ninth and seven from surpassing Corinne Bolder for eighth.

Groundhog Day for `One'
With the Maroon and Gold's 2-1 loss to Purdue on October 23, Minnesota has dropped a school record eight matches by a goal differential of one. The previous most was seven which happened in 2005 and 2002 seasons.

Advancing in the Tournament
The winner in this Border Battle rematch advances to face either Penn State or Northwestern. The Nittany Loins and Wildcats play in the match right before the Gophers and Badgers game.

Following the Action
All matches on Wednesday will be streamed on BTN.com while Friday's semifinals and Sunday's championship will be on the Big Ten Network Live.

Gopher Facebook/Twitter
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.