On the road again not good news for soccer team

by Monica Wright

Just when the Gopher soccer team’s luck seems to be turning around, they are forced to face a long-running team curse: road games.
Of the six games it has played on the road this season, Minnesota (2-3 in the Big Ten) has won…
But coach Barbara Wickstrand said she refuses to believe the team is jinxed every time it leaves home turf, as the Gophers will this weekend to battle Purdue and Indiana.
And with six of their next seven matches away, a win on the road could prove to be the confidence booster the team needs for the rest of the Big Ten schedule.
“I really believe we’ve made a turnaround,” Wickstrand said. “Obviously, our road trip losses might pass through their heads but to become the program we want to become we can’t make excuses; the field shouldn’t make a difference.”
The turnaround Wickstrand is describing comes after last weekend’s win over Ohio State, ending a four-game scoring drought and netting the Gophers their first win in as many games.
Minnesota shut out the Buckeyes while freshman Kecia Lee went on a scoring spree, collecting both Minnesota goals within twelve minutes of each other.
The last time a Gopher had a multiple-goal match was when Lee’s sister Nicole scored three goals against Texas Christian in 1998.
But considering Minnesota’s last ‘turnaround’ performance — a 5-1 win over Iowa three weeks ago — led into the four game losing streak, the Gophers are hoping to carry this run farther.
“This week we didn’t focus on what our opponents will be doing as much as what we need to do to continue our strong team play,” sophomore Kyndra Hesse said.
“Our Sunday games have always been strong, but we need to learn to show up for both games every weekend.”
Though the Gophers — who have easily dominated both Indiana and Purdue in the past — are favored to win, Purdue is boasting their strongest record in the school’s three year program.
Also working against the Gophers, the game will take place for the first time on Purdue’s territory.
“Purdue is having a great season, so we’re just going to try and control what we can on the field and hopefully the game will be ours,” Wickstrand said. “Some teams might not see our win against Ohio as a huge turnaround, so hopefully they’ll take us lightly.”
With the Gopher’s Big Ten record in jeopardy, Minnesota can’t afford to take it’s own road game curse lightly, either.
“When we look at successes we don’t look at whether they were on the road or at home,” Hesse said. “A win is a win, and to be successful in the Big Ten we need to win the rest of these games.”

Monica Wright covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]