Freshman Schwartz has given a team in need of finishing touch scoring punch early in the year

Forward Lindsey Schwartz leads the Gophers with four goals.

Emily Wickstrom

Freshman Lindsey Schwartz could play anywhere on the soccer field in high school – midfield, forward, even goalie.

But after Minnesota soccer coach Mikki Denney Wright saw Schwartz play, she said she knew right away that she needed Schwartz as an offensive presence.

“She has a great goal scoring ability,” Denney Wright said.

“She has the mentality where she just goes and goes. The best front-runners have that mentality.”

Six games into the Gophers’ season, Schwartz has been the leader in the team’s young offense.

She has a team high nine points, with four goals and one assist while also leading Minnesota in shot attempts. Schwartz has 20 shots on goal, more than twice as many as the next Gophers player.

Denney Wright said that Minnesota’s opponents have already taken note of Schwartz as she usually has the best defender marking her and is sometimes double-teamed.

“She runs (defenders) into the ground everywhere we go,” Denney Wright said. “They’re actually wanting to be subbed out of the game.”

Despite the impact Schwartz has made for the Gophers, she had never focused solely on soccer prior to joining the team.

A four-sport athlete at Pleasant Valley High School in

Bettendorf, Iowa, Schwartz played basketball, volleyball, and ran track along with soccer.

“It’s actually nice because I’ve never before just worried about one sport,” Schwartz said of joining the Minnesota team.

Because she was always in season for one of the other sports, Denney Wright said Schwartz “flew under the radar” in terms of her soccer recruitment.

The fitness level Schwartz obtained from being so involved in other sports is a big reason she immediately joined the Gophers’ starting lineup and has been so effective, Denney Wright said.

“I knew I really needed to work hard, and I hoped that by working hard everything would eventually pay off,” Schwartz said.

While it remains to be seen if Schwartz will continue her scoring spree when Minnesota begins Big Ten play Sept. 23, Denney Wright said the attention Schwartz receives from opponents will help the team as a whole.

“It will balance our attack,” Denney Wright said. “Other kids will step up and they’ll all contribute.”

For Schwartz’s part, she said that she sees goal-scoring as part of her role with the Gophers.

“I’m just trying to help the team out and win the games,” she said. “At forward, it’s our job to score the goals. I like that kind of pressure.”

Teammates said they feel that Schwartz can score on anybody.

“She’s a game player,” senior captain Laura Hoppe said. “Even if (opposing players) know what she’s going to do, she’ll still beat them.

“I feel sorry for whoever has to play defense against her.”