Talented trio carry soccer’s production on their backs

Jabari Ritchie

Minnesota scored three goals in Friday’s loss to Northwestern and Sunday’s win at Wisconsin – the most of any weekend series – but the same three players continued to contribute all of the Gophers’ points.

Forward Rachael Roth, midfielder Alison Rackley and sweeper Samantha Meyers entered and left the weekend as the only Minnesota players with goals or assists.

Roth, whose 14 points rank her third in the conference, had two goals and an assist.

Coach Barbara Wickstrand said she is concerned that the Gophers’ reliance on Roth – who has had a point on every Minnesota goal this season – has made her a target.

“She was getting abused,” Wickstrand said. “She’s going to be a marked person now. It’s obvious she’s our go-to person. Everyone knows that, so everyone’s going to be pounding her.”

Roth was brought down several times against Northwestern and temporarily left both games last weekend due to minor injuries. She had a charley horse after Friday’s game and twisted her ankle in the first half Sunday.

“She’s banged up, but if she can walk she’s going to play,” Wickstrand said. “She’s just that kind of competitor.”

Losing streak snapped

The Gophers’ 2-1 overtime win over Wisconsin ended at four games the longest losing streak in the program’s nine-year history.

“It was awesome,” Roth said. “The best win ever, actually. Just because we ended the losing streak and it felt really good.”

Improved defense

Besides the five-minute span in which Northwestern scored in the final minute of regulation and early in overtime, Minnesota found the strong defensive play it lacked against Indiana and Purdue two weeks ago.

After giving up six goals in losses to the Hoosiers and Boilermakers, the Gophers did a better job of clearing the ball and limiting offensive opportunities last weekend.

Wisconsin’s only score was on a penalty kick while Northwestern did not threaten Minnesota’s goal until Julie Eibensteiner was forced to make a tough save after a corner kick in the 86th minute.

“For the most part, we did well,” defender Sarah FitzGerald said about Sunday’s game. “Some of our clears weren’t as good as they could have been, but only one goal was let in off a PK, so we got our stuff done.”

Rackley returns to
midfield

After playing at forward since recovering from an ankle injury, Rackley returned to the midfield for the first time Friday.

“We needed to win some of the air game and she’s such a presence out there,” Wickstrand said. “She can hold the ball and then get it out wide.”

Freshman Jennifer Cressman also stood out in the midfield on Friday.

Cressman entered the match in the 21st minute after outside midfielder Meghan Jones was slowed by an injury. Jones and Cressman both started the second half.

“This is the type of performance we want from everyone,” Wickstrand said. “She never stops. She just ran through everyone, took the ball and never gave up. That’s big time.”

Jabari Ritchie covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]

Men’s hockey team ranked third

Minnesota’s men’s hockey team (1-0-0) moved up one spot to third in the United States College Hockey Online poll despite not having played a game last week.

The team also received six of the 40 first-place votes but remains behind No. 1 Michigan State (2-0-1) and No. 2 North Dakota (2-1-0).

Men’s golf team
places fourth

Shooting a final round 295, Minnesota’s men’s golf team passed several opponents in the final round to finish fourth in the Duke Golf Classic in Durham, N.C.

Junior Wilhelm Schauman finished in a tie for 10th place, posting a three-round total of 222 (+6).

Virginia Tech finished in first place, followed by Augusta State, Virginia, and the Gophers.

Hall of Fame
inductees named

The M Club and Men’s Intercollegiate Athletics Department of the University of Minnesota announced their inductees for the 11th Annual Hall of Fame weekend.

The following inductees will be honored at halftime of the football game versus Michigan State and enter the Hall on Friday, Oct. 19: Tom Kondla, Fred Roethlisberger, Mick Polich, Rich Upchurch, Ray Williams, Larry Zilverberg, Geno Cappellitti, Leonard “Buddy” Edelen, Bob Graizinger, Ed Kalafat, Len Levine, and Ken Buell.