Burnett anchors Gophers’ defense

The senior defender has started in every game this season for the Gophers.

Tori Burnett passes the ball to a teammate in the game against the University of Michigan on Sept. 21.

Jack Rodgers, Daily File Photo

Tori Burnett passes the ball to a teammate in the game against the University of Michigan on Sept. 21.

Erik Nelson

Defender Tori Burnett played in just two games her freshman year. 

Now in her senior season, she has started every game and helped the defense hold Minnesota’s opponents to just 13 goals this season.

“[Burnett] has no problem being vocal,” said head coach Stefanie Golan. “She’s very quick to try to organize things. The players respect her. She came in as a freshman [and] hardly played at all, then earned her way into the starting role. She easily could have been a team captain last year as well.”

Burnett, a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said her teammates and coaches are the main reason why she enjoys playing for Minnesota.

“The people here are of the utmost, outstanding character,” Burnett said. “They’ve really taught me a lot about myself and what it means to be a good person. I’m very grateful for all their friendships and all of the memories that we’ve created together.”

Burnett has yet to score a goal this season, but she has two assists. She has helped her team earn six shutouts this season.

Forward Sydney Squires has been Burnett’s roommate since freshman year. Squires said Burnett is a very generous person who thinks about others before herself. 

“I told coach [Golan] to put me with someone random,” Squires said. “I came in, I was late, I was a mess, but we hit it off immediately. It was a no-brainer that we would be roommates in college. We’ve learned to coexist really well.”

Burnett was majoring in physiology and planned to attend pharmacy school after graduation, but has since switched to a sports psychology major. Burnett plans to attend graduate school once she completes her undergraduate education.

“I love all types of sports,” Burnett said. “[Sports psychology] would keep me in the collegiate athletic arena, which has been very helpful and very useful for me. I want to stay around [sports] as much as I can.”

For Squires, it’s easy to have a friend like Burnett. The pair do everything together, from completing homework assignments to watching football games. Squires is a forward and Burnett is a defender.

“We’ve been head-to-head the entire time because [of] our positions. We’re constantly at each other,” Squires said. “Once we leave the soccer field, we let it go. We don’t take any of our soccer issues back home. We don’t take any of our home issues onto the field.”

Golan said she will miss Burnett’s daily presence once the season ends, no matter if Minnesota wins in the postseason or not.

“She’s a really enjoyable person to be around,” Golan said. “She’s always ready to go.”