Bolder gives U a boost off the bench

Jim Schortemeyer

It’s becoming a common scenario for the Gophers soccer team: Senior Corinne Bolder drives through traffic and gets off a shot, only to have it blocked, caught or ricocheted off the side of the goal.
“I feel bad for Corrine, because it’s like she’s getting robbed and can’t buy a goal,” coach Sue Montagne said. “She took a great shot near the end of the game against SMU, but the keeper came up with a great save.”
But Bolder’s on-field threat goes beyond the scoring column. Since her promotion to the starting lineup as a forward against Indiana, the Gophers have won four straight games. Bolder has no goals, but she’s had at least one assist in every game.
In her first season, Bolder knocked in 33 points and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. She was a starter her first two years on the team, and sits in sixth-place on the all-time scoring list.
Due to the emergence of other offensive forces — and a self-described lack of effort — Bolder was relegated to a bench role last season, and at the beginning of this season.
“I wasn’t focused, and I wasn’t working hard,” Bolder said. “It was a good decision by the coaches.”
But when her team began underachieving this season, Montagne turned to her veteran bench player for a boost.
“I was very excited,” Bolder said. “I think I deserve it for working hard. I feel more at home now.”
And it looks like she might have her old starting role back for good. Bolder is consistently controlling the ball and getting off good shots.
“The biggest change in Corinne has been her consistency of effort,” Montagne said. “We told her she can’t just watch the ball, or go half-speed after a ball.”
Junior captain Noelle Papenhausen also credits a change of strategy to the recent Minnesota successes.
“Our chemistry is a lot different,” Papenhausen said. “At the beginning of the year, we were running a different system, so we changed things up a bit.”
And one of those changes — the return of Bolder to the starting lineup — has paid off for Minnesota. She’s been a spark for a Gopher offense, which is suddenly running hot. Saturday at Texas Christian, Minnesota outshot the Horned Frogs 35-5.
None of the Gophers’ five goals came from Bolder, who admits she’s been frustrated by her bad luck. Despite Bolder’s unfortunate knocks around the net, Montagne thinks her senior forward will come through in crunch time.
“I keep thinking that she’s going to get a goal when it’s crucial,” Montagne said.

Quick kicks
ù The Minnesota defense has allowed 17 goals this season, and is on pace to allow fewer than the team record of 30.
ù Indiana won a tiebreaker with Northwestern, and will face Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota won the only meeting between the two this season 1-0. The third-seeded Hoosiers will face the sixth-seeded Gophers Nov. 6.