Minnesota moves to 10-0 after weekend shut outs

Minnesota moves to 10-0 after weekend shut outs

Ashley Goetz

Going into the weekend, the Minnesota soccer team was among the ranks of the 12 Division I teams in the country who had yet to lose or tie a game. Eight teams can no longer consider themselves undefeated âÄî Minnesota however is not one of them. The Gophers moved to 10-0 on the season as they finished up nonconference play with a 2-0 win over Brown on Friday followed by 1-0 win Sunday afternoon against Boston University. Coach Mikki Denney Wright said last Thursday that the weekend would likely be the toughest her squad had seen this season, and after SundayâÄôs match, she stood by that projection. âÄúThis was definitely the toughest weekend weâÄôve faced, and I think the depth of our team today won the game for us,âÄù she said. âÄúFriday was actually one of our best performances of the year. We really came out on fire and [Sunday] we really gritted through and found a way to win.âÄù FridayâÄôs win against a talented Brown team ranked No. 21 by the Soccertimes.com poll will be especially helpful to the GophersâÄô post-season cause. Senior forward Lindsey Schwartz, who recorded her team-leading fifth goal of the season on Friday, said any win against a ranked team is critical when it comes to making the NCAA tournament but for confidence as well, especially with the Big Ten opener a week away. âÄúThis is a good warm-up for us,âÄù Schwartz said. âÄúBut for the most part now we have a little bit of confidence and know we can beat some good teams. ItâÄôll be a good thing for us to go into next weekend.âÄù And the confidence is as high as ever for this Minnesota team who is off to its best start in program history. At 10-0, the Gophers have already eclipsed their win total of nine from last season. But freshman midfielder Shari Eckstrom, who scored MinnesotaâÄôs lone goal in SundayâÄôs game from her back as she flipped the ball up and over the Boston goaltender, said that despite the boost of confidence, 10-0 doesnâÄôt mean too much without a good performance in the Big Ten. âÄúWeâÄôre restarting,âÄù she said. âÄúWeâÄôre 0-0 here in the Big Ten so this is what really matters.âÄù And be sure Denney Wright will be keeping tabs on the mentality of her team in the upcoming week. Making sure her undefeated team isnâÄôt becoming complacent is certainly a worry for her. She even went so far as to reading about New England PatriotsâÄô head coach Bill Belichick and how he handled his teamâÄôs nearly undefeated run in the NFL last season. âÄúCoaches always fear that,âÄù she said of the possibility of her team becoming complacent. âÄúI think itâÄôs just your role as coaches to make sure that you get them out of their comfort zone and you have to keep them accountable for the little details.âÄù âÄúI really feel that itâÄôs the coachâÄôs job to keep the kids accountable and weâÄôre trying to do that.âÄù And as Minnesota moves on to its last week of pre-Big Ten practice before taking on Michigan State on the road Friday, Denney Wright said sheâÄôll keep her team playing like themselves. âÄúWe have an identity this team, we have a way we play we have a way we attack, we have a way we defend and the key for us is playing Minnesota style soccer,âÄù she said. âÄúThese next 10 games are going to be very difficult.âÄù