Not many people have noticed, but the Minnesota soccer team has been suffocating opponents defensively all season. On top of that, the Gophers defense has also been essential in jump starting Minnesota’s offense.
“I think what people don’t understand is our defense allows us to play the way we do,” head coach Mikki Denney Wright said after Friday night’s 2-0 victory against the Ohio University Bobcats. “We’re able to attack with so many numbers and play so high on the field and press because we have such a good backline.”
The Gophers’ backline is also appreciated by the woman directly behind it.
“It’s a goal keeper’s dream. I’ve got experienced, really smart defenders who are really strong and really fast,” said senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare , who called Minnesota’s defenders “the hardest working people I’ve ever met”.
The Gophers (6-0-0) opened the first annual Regina Moench Memorial tournament against Ohio (1-3-0), and the 90 minutes both teams shared on the field could hardly be classified as a contest.
Rarely out of position, Minnesota’s defenders quashed any Ohio momentum with ease and hovered around midfield for the majority of the game.
The Bobcats registered their lone shot on goal during a brief breakaway that was broken up from behind.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s tournament finale against Creighton (4-2-0), the Gophers had allowed just eight shots on goal through five games .
Creighton proved to be a tougher challenge than Ohio, mustering two shots on goal. Still, the Blue Jays proved no match for Minnesota, who captured the tournament crown by prevailing 3-0.
The Gophers defense withstood a furious flurry of attempts near the 60th minute to preserve their fifth shutout of the season. After the ball was finally booted out of harm’s way, Minnesota’s defensive effort earned a loud ovation from the announced crowd of 784 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium .
Associate head coach Kate Cortis, referred to as the “defensive coordinator” by players and coaches, works with the defense every day. Denney Wright lauded Cortis as a “great defensive mind” who “just does a great job coaching them overall”.
The practices led by Cortis have also helped the defense develop organization.
“We work a lot together at practice, we’re always on the same page,” senior defender Krystle Kallman said.
Thursday’s practices can be particularly grueling, added Kallman, but “getting zeroes on that board for the other team” makes it well worth the effort.
Despite the impressive results, a common sentiment echoed by both head coach and goalkeeper suggests that the Gophers defense doesn’t get enough attention.
Dare observed that Minnesota’s defenders receive little glory, and characterized the defense by its work ethic.
“They’ve got that just kind of blue-collar, dogfight attitude like they’re never gonna let down,” Dare said.”
“They don’t get all the credit and accolades,” agreed Denney Wright. “This team has an opportunity to do something special defensively that I think we haven’t seen for a while.”
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
Minneapolis Used Cars
Give back to the Minnesota community with a boat donation at boat4causes.org.
If you have been involved in a car accident call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation.