The Minnesota women’s soccer team took advantage of a day off from practice Monday to meet and try to figure out what’s gone wrong so far.
The Gophers (7-5 overall, 3-4 in the Big Ten) are coming off a pair of losses to Penn State and Ohio State, which pushed their losing streak to two games.
“I like that they’ve taken that upon themselves instead of letting it go and looking to us,” head coach Sue Montagne said.
The players have plenty to consider after two close — but very different — losses. The first was a solid effort against Big Ten leader Penn State, in which Minnesota came up short 3-2 in overtime. The second was a less-than-inspiring 1-0 loss to lowly Ohio State.
Montagne was as pleased as a losing coach can be about the game with the Lions, calling them the best team Minnesota has played all year. She said she’d look forward to a rematch in the Big Ten tournament.
“Out of the five times we’ve played them, four have gone to overtime,” Montagne said. “That means there’s great competition between the two teams. This weekend aside, I’d really look forward to playing anyone again.”
Winning the Big Ten tournament is Minnesota’s only chance of making it back to the NCAA tournament, now that the Gophers have been eliminated from the running for the regular season title.
Minnesota has made the tournament for three consecutive seasons, and has never had a losing season. One ray of hope for the Gophers is the NCAA recently expanded the tournament from 32 to 48 teams, which might come in handy for Minnesota when selection time comes.
Shot Through the Heart
When asked about the differential on the shot charts at Penn State — Lions 23, Gophers 12 — Montagne was quick to criticize the scorekeepers.
“It’s amazing whoever’s taking shot totals,” Montagne said. “We go home and do our own stats and (assistant coach Barbra Wickstrand) called and said `You won’t believe it, but they had 19 and we had 16 shots. And that was being hard on us.'”
Also at issue was the one shot Minnesota officially recorded in the second-half of the game.
“To tell us we had one shot in the second-half and the overtime, that’s absolutely ridiculous,” Montagne said. “We had three shots in a row right before they counter-attacked and scored (in overtime).”
ù Although team leaders Laurie Seidl and Nicole Lee were shutout this weekend, game, the pair remains tied for the Big Ten lead in total points with 24. Indiana’s Tracy Grose also has 24 points after netting an assist over the weekend.
ù A loss to Indiana on Friday would equal the longest losing streak — three games — in the Gophers’ six-year history.