Gophers win lone exhibition game

Minnesota will begin its regular season Aug. 22.

Ben Gotz

The Gophers soccer team seemed to have one focus in their first match of the season: attack.

In their warm-up for the regular season, the Gophers defeated North Dakota 3-0, thanks to a pressuring offensive performance that recorded 12 shots on goal in the match.

For the Gophers, it was their first action on the field together since last November, and they were happy to just be back out there.

“It was a lot of fun,” sophomore Simone Kolander said. “We’ve been working really hard this preseason, with two-a-days almost every day, and it was just awesome to get back out here.”

Kolander saw the fruits of her offseason labor early on, scoring the Gophers’ first goal after a pass from sophomore Josee Stiever found her in the front of the net at the 14th minute of play.

The Gophers offense struck again in the 33rd minute, when a Stiever header found the back of the net off of a pass from freshmen Maddie Gaffney.

Kolander struck one more time for the Gophers to widen their lead to 3-0, after Stiever hit her with another crisp pass in stride going toward the net in the 71st minute.

For Kolander, her two goals on the night matched her total for her entire freshmen season.

“I think I’ve just gotten a lot more confidence built up from over the summer,” Kolander said. “Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect and I think I took a more supporting role last year. I knew coming into this season I would have to step it up.”

The Gophers potent offense led to an easy night for the defense — reigning Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Tarah Hobbs did not see a shot on goal from North Dakota.

Both teams substituted frequently in the exhibition match. Eight of the Gophers nine freshmen saw action in the game, as the coaching staff wanted to get them on the field before the regular season opened.

“We just wanted to get some people a little exposure, get everyone a little confidence,” Gophers associate head coach Krystle Seidel said. “We start next weekend, and we don’t really get a break after that, so we want everyone feeling good.”

The Gophers will now attempt to fine tune before they officially open their season on Aug. 22 against Stetson, but their exhibition game gave them a glance of where they are currently.

“I think our speed of play and our decisions on the ball were as good as they’ve ever been,” Seidel said. “We were moving the ball really quickly and making good choices.”