Weather a non-factor for Gophers

Minnesota is used to succeeding in cold temperatures on its home turf.

Jace Frederick

As the calendar turns further into fall and the Big Ten season heats up, the weather starts to cool way down.

The Gophers’ home games with Iowa and Nebraska this weekend have projected highs in the 40s and 50s.

And that lower temperature is tough for players when a soccer uniform typically consists of only shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.

“You don’t really have feeling in your fingers most of the game,” junior midfielder Olivia Schultz said. “You kind of have to get over that first five minutes when you’re cold.”

The Gophers fought through the only cold spell they’ve faced so far in 2013. Minnesota went undefeated (1-0-1) in a weekend at home earlier this month in chilly, rainy weather, beating then-No. 7 Penn State 1-0.

“The mindset, I think, stays the same,” junior forward/midfielder Taylor Wodnick said. “Personally, with a little bit colder weather, I like playing in it.”

Still, there are some players who certainly don’t.

Freshman keeper Tarah Hobbs said it’s tough not to think about the cold, especially as she stands alone and fairly still in the net while her teammates are controlling the ball and running around on the opposite side of the pitch.

“It’s tough to stay mentally focused in the cold because you’re just worried about getting warm,” Hobbs said. “You’re just worried, ‘If it comes this way, am I going to be able to do something? Because I’m so cold.’”

The Gophers do possess the advantage of a Midwest-based roster, with 18 of their 23 players from Minnesota. And the other five players are also from traditionally cold-weather climates.

Schultz grew up in the Twin Cities area, attending high school at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn.

Schultz, however, started her collegiate career at the University of San Diego and said it’s been tough acclimating to the much colder weather.

“I have a lot of adjusting to do,” Schultz said. “But once you’re warm [during the game], you’re good.”