For the first time in history, the Minnesota women's soccer team will host the NCAA Sweet 16 this Saturday with a 1 p.m. (CST) showdown against Georgetown. It will mark the second-ever appearance in the Sweet 16 by Minnesota, who also made it to the NCAA third round in 2008. The Gophers are 7-0 all-time at home in the NCAA tournament and are 5-0 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
Last Time Out
Minnesota (14-5-3) heads into its second-ever Sweet 16 appearance on a five-game unbeaten streak. The Gophers hosted the NCAA First and Second Rounds last weekend and emerged with wins over Creighton and No. 9 Texas A&M to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. The Gophers rebounded from a first-half deficit on Friday against the Bluejays to win 4-2.Katie Bethke tallied a pair of goals including the game winner, Julie Rezac added a pair of assists and Molly Rouse and Steph Brandt each tallied scoring strikes. Minnesota shut down Texas A&M's high powered offense two days later, blanking the Aggies 2-0 in the second round. After Tamara Strahota headed in an early Kylie Kallman corner kick, Bethke tipped in her own rebound for her third goal of the weekend. Cat Parkhill picked up her seventh shutout of the season in the win, tying a season high with seven saves.
Saturday's game marks the first-ever meeting between Minnesota and Georgetown in the 18-year history of both programs. Minnesota is 4-7-1 all time against Big East while the Hoyas are 0-2-0 against teams from the Big Ten.
Follow the Action
Saturday's game will be streamed free of charge in the Gold Zone on Gophersports.com (weather permitting). Live stats and a running game blog will also be available all season long at Gophersports.com.
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Scouting the Hoyas
Georgetown (14-6-2) picked up its first-ever postseason win over Siena last Friday in an impressive 5-1 win and followed that performance up by ending top-seeded Maryland's season two days later after penalty kicks in a 1-1 tie. Georgetown is led by Camille Trujillo and Ingrid Wells, who both the team with 28 points. Three of Truhillo's 13 goals came during last weekend's first and second rounds and earned the junior the distinction of TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Player of the Week. Georgetown is coached by Dave Nolan (Seton Hall, 1991).
Minnesota and Georgetown have just one common opponent this year in Notre Dame. Minnesota opened the 2010 season against the then-No. 4 Irish, losing a 1-0 contest in South Bend. The Hoyas hosted Notre Dame in Big East action in late October, playing to a 1-1 double overtime tie.
Back in the Dance
Minnesota returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008 when the Gophers won the Big Ten title and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time in program history. Minnesota has now made seven national tournament appearances since the program's inception in 1993. The Gophers made their first NCAA appearance in 1995 -- the first of five consecutive appearances including three-straight second round appearances from 1997-99. Minnesota is 7-6 in the NCAA tournament and 4-1 under Mikki Denney Wright.
Home Sweet Home
For the first time in program history, Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium will host the third round of the NCAA tournament. Opened in 1999, the 1,000 spectator venue has given Minnesota a 58-35-8 home record and has seen opposing teams leave St. Paul with a win just four times since the beginning of the 2008 season. Minnesota is 7-0 at home in the NCAA tournament.
Bethke Earns National Honors
An impressive weekend by senior forward Katie Bethke was capped by a pair of national honors. The Eau Claire, Wis. native was named a member of TopDrawerSoccer.com Women's Team of the Week and was also deemed a CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer of the Week. Bethke tallied two goals against Creighton on Friday including the game winner and added a third goal against Texas A&M. She is currently tied for the NCAA tournament lead with three goals and eight shots on goal.
Rouse to Miss Sweet Sixteen
Minnesota will be without its most experienced player on Saturday as a pair of yellow cards in Minnesota's second round game will force senior midfielder Molly Rouse to miss the Sweet 16 game. The one-game suspension snaps a string of 87-consecutive appearances by the senior. Up until the one-game ban, Rouse had appeared in every game of her Gophers career.
Been There, Done That
12 members of this year's Gophers squad competed for the 2008 Sweet Sixteen team -- meaning Minnesota will have plenty of NCAA experience in its starting lineup. Seniors Molly Rouse and Julie Rezac each tallied goals during Minnesota's 2008 tournament campaign while senior Katie Bethke pegged an assist.
The In Crowd
Six Big Ten teams were selected for this year's NCAA tournament including Minnesota, but only the Gophers and Ohio State remain after the first two rounds. The two conference teams could potentially meet in the Elite 8. Minnesota lists eight regular-season opponents from this season that were selected for the NCAA field -- only the Buckeyes and Notre Dame remain in the Sweet 16.
Bethke, Kallman Earn Big Ten Honors
Seniors Katie Bethke and Kylie Kallman were both honored last week as 2010 Second Team All-Big Ten team members. It was the third-career honor for Bethke and first for Kallman. Bethke, who leads the Big Ten with 13 assists this season, earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors last year and was a part of the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2007.
Sitting on Top
As a unit, the Golden Gophers are one of the Big Ten's most potent offenses. Minnesota reclaimed the conference lead last weekend with 43 goals while also ranking first in the conference in points (145), assists (59) and corners (157). The Gophers are second in the Big Ten behind Penn State with 380 shots.
Spreading the Wealth
Five Gophers have reached double digit points already in 2010 with one already well over the 20-point plateau and two more Gophers on the edge of crossing it. Senior Katie Bethke (25), junior Shari Eckstrom (19), senior Molly Rouse (19), junior Tamara Strahota (17) and redshirt freshman Steph Brandt (16) are pacing the Big Ten's most productive offense. Rouse, Strahota and Bethke were the only Gophers to record 10 or more points last season.
Bethke Moves Up The Record Book
Senior midfielder Katie Bethke continues to climb in the school record book. Bethke's 13 assists this season have already jumped her from eighth to second all-time with 32 career assists. Jennifer Walek (1993-97) ranks first in the Gophers book with 42 career assists. Bethke also ranks among the top ten in school history in career points (84, 5th), goals (26, 8th) and shots (194, 6th).
Parkhill Makes Her Mark
Sophomore goalkeeper Cat Parkhill continues to rise up the record book. Parkhill's 26 career wins are the fourth most in Minnesota history, while the keeper also ranks fourth all-time in career shutouts at Minnesota with 16 and fifth in program history with 3,834:07 minutes played.
Among the Nation's Best
With 13 assists this season, senior midfielder Katie Bethke sits tied for fifth most in the nation. Bethke, who leads the Big Ten in the category, ranks second in the Minnesota record books for assists in a season after Jennifer Walek's 18 assist campaign in 1995.