I watch a lot of soccer. Minnesota United, the world cup, playing high school soccer, and most things in-between. That adds up to a lot. United has been just plain hard to watch recently, playing the same kick and chase style as my high school team does; the Men’s National Team has not been so pretty to watch either, and even Manchester United has not been winning. The University of Minnesota Gopher women’s team is a great escape from the aggravation that most soccer has been providing of late.
The Gophers started the season with three straight out of conference wins, but lost a couple tough games against good teams such as Washington State and a heart breaker against Stanford. The Gophers bounced back today against #12 Northwestern, with a 2-0 win at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in front of a big sweaty crowd.
The win is huge for the Gophers, as they have shown a lot of potential but have lacked the the results. With Big Ten play starting with a loss to Illinois, the Gophers’ win over Northwestern is hugely uplifting and hopefully boosts the remainder of the season.
It was a nail biter in the first half. A penalty kick was called against Minnesota for a handball in the box, but goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen came up with a huge save. The game was wide open; fast paced counterattacks blossomed from both sides. The Gophers came up with a penalty kick of their own in the 25th minute, which April Bockin converted. The physical play continued, with both teams committing fouls. The Gophers finished off the Wildcats in the 74th minute with a wonderful header goal from Mckendrick.
The Gophers came up big against a top 25 team and continue to look forward to Big 10 play. Goalkeeper Nielsen said the win is a “huge confidence booster.”
A few notes about the Gophers:
- April Bockin is really quick and skillzy.
- Maddie Nielsen is impressive, and only a sophomore.
- There are big crowds at home games.
The Gophers play Michigan State next week, and are extremely hopeful after such a strong win today. The Gophers are exciting to watch, with speed, physicality, and momentum. The remainder of the season will be exciting to watch.