Goalkeeper situation not settled for Gophers soccer

by Mark Heller

It used to be that coach Sue Montagne had Dana Larson as the mainstay in goal for the Minnesota soccer team.
But that was the way things were.
Two weeks ago, sophomore Julie Eibensteiner replaced Larson after a 4-0 whipping by Penn State. Eibensteiner started home wins against Indiana and Purdue the following weekend.
But after falling behind Michigan 2-0 in a 42-second span Friday, Montagne went back to her old stopper.
“We just felt Julie was shaky during warm-ups and not real confident,” Montagne said. “A couple times she was diving before the ball was getting there and she was out of position a couple times so we thought we should make a change.”
Larson shut out the Wolverines the rest of the way, then earned a shutout against Illinois State on Sunday. Now it’s unclear who will start this weekend against Wisconsin and Evansville.
For someone not used to being off the field throughout most of her career, Larson didn’t get too hung up on her individual performance.
“She had her playing time, and the goals weren’t Julie’s fault by any means,” Larson said. “It’s always a team game; it’s never any one’s fault.
“I’m happy with myself, but it’s hard to be happy for yourself when you don’t get a win. It’s a good/bad thing.”
Monty’s minutes
Soccer is a tiring and often physical sport, but the elements aren’t enough to keep Juli Montgomery off the field.
The sophomore defender played all 1,131 minutes of Minnesota’s 13 games heading into the Illinois State game Sunday.
Then she got whacked in the face against the Redbirds and was forced to leave the game. Although it was originally thought that she had a broken nose, that turned out to be wrong. She is expected to play against Wisconsin on Friday.
Her sudden exit leaves her with 1,285 minutes played this season, 200 more than Sarah Fitzgerald, who’s second on the minutes-played list.
Hometown hero
At halftime on Sunday, Megan Johnson was given the WCCO Minnesota Hometown Days award for Rosemount.
Chris Voelz, the women’s athletics director, joined a host of family, friends and former coaches to honor Johnson at halftime.
The mayor of Rosemount named Oct. 17 “Megan Johnson Rosemount Hometown Day.”
“It was crazy, all my aunts, uncles and cousins were here and they’ve never seen me play before,” she said. “It was cool.”
Thunder rolls
Montagne and a few players attended the Minnesota Thunder championship game this weekend.
Thunder coach Buzz Lagos has made several appearances at Gophers games this season.
“I’m not an avid fan but I support them and I’m really excited for them going for it all,” Montagne said. “Their games are fun for the crowd, it gets the crowd and the kids into it.”

Mark Heller covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]