No. 16 Gophers return from longest break of the season

No. 16 Gophers return from longest break of the season

Austin Cumblad

Rested and refreshed after what amounts to its bye-week, the No. 16 Minnesota womenâÄôs soccer team returns from a ten-day break on Sunday to host Purdue at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium at 2 p.m. Among other things, the Gophers have used their hiatus, by far the longest of the season, to nurse minor injuries and aching muscles. But most importantly, theyâÄôve worked to rebound from a 1-0 loss to Wisconsin that snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak, MinnesotaâÄôs longest since 1997. âÄúYou always learn from a loss,âÄù junior center back Tamara Strahota said. âÄúYou can look back on it and say, âÄòWhat do we need to work on to be better in the next game?âÄôâÄù In this case, sloppy ball movement and uninspired offense plagued the Gophers against Wisconsin, perhaps indicative of a team in need of rest for tired legs. The BadgersâÄô sturdy defense would not be toppled by the Big TenâÄôs strongest offense, and despite 13 shots, Minnesota had just two truly promising scoring looks. With a poor performance lingering in their head for a week and a half, the Gophers can respond in one of two ways, senior midfielder Julie Rezac said. âÄúIf we use it as ammunition for our next game I think itâÄôs great and will make us play that much better. If we get down on ourselves it could be devastating,âÄù she said, adding, âÄúI have every confidence in our team that we will respond well.âÄù Of course, itâÄôs much easier to respond with a healthy team, which head coach Mikki Denney Wright said Minnesota was not against Wisconsin. âÄúA lot of our team is dinged up this time of year,âÄù she said, so the break, the longest sheâÄôs had as a coach, has come at the âÄúperfect moment.âÄù Not quite back to health, but getting close, is senior Jennie Clark, who fractured her collarbone early in the season against Belmont. Clark has rejoined practice in non-contact drills and Denney Wright said that though she has not been cleared to play, it may happen this weekend or next when the Gophers travel for games at Penn State and Ohio State.