Hood and fellow midfielders finding their place in Minnesota’s 10-0 run

ThereâÄôs no doubt the Gophers womenâÄôs soccer team has started its season strong. The undefeated Gophers are 10-0 on the season, and even more impressive is the number of goals they have allowed in the net: just two. Strong defense is the core of the playersâÄô success, and though they are led by solid goaltending and defense, the teamâÄôs midfield has much to be thanked for. Senior starters Clare Grimwood, Kelsey Hood and Kaitlin Wagner have combined for three goals and two assists this season, but they comprise a midfield with a strong emphasis on defense. âÄúWe set a goal in the beginning of the preseason and thatâÄôs what our goal was, to be 10-0,âÄù said Hood. ItâÄôs about scoring goals and not letting goals in, she said. As this weekâÄôs Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, it comes as no surprise that keeping the ball out of the net is at the front of HoodâÄôs mind. As far as the accolades go, Hood said she was honored but believes her teammates are an important part of her success. âÄúDefense is a whole-team thing,âÄù she said. Though she is a two-time all-conference second-team pick , Hood said she stays focused on the season and the team. Right now, sheâÄôs simply pleased with the midfield and the teamâÄôs success. And Wagner doesnâÄôt doubt HoodâÄôs importance to the team and midfield. âÄúSheâÄôs a leader on and off the field,âÄù she said. Wagner also said Hood brings âÄúcalmnessâÄù to the team. All three players have been together since joining the team as freshmen, and they agree strong chemistry is crucial to their success. Wagner describes the group as âÄúclose-knit.âÄù âÄúWe go through everything together, and I think that really helps and shows on the field,âÄù she said. This chemistry will prove crucial as the team heads into conference play this weekend against Michigan and Michigan State. Hood is confident about this weekendâÄôs match-ups. âÄúWe have confidence right now and as long as that keeps rolling then I think weâÄôll just keep on winning,âÄù she said. Defense will continue to be something to focus on this season if the Gophers intend on continuing their undefeated streak into the Big Ten season. Though the past 10 games have been an exciting experience, Wagner emphasized the need to focus on the games ahead: âÄúWeâÄôre 0-0 in the Big Ten.âÄù