The Minnesota womenâÄôs soccer team had nearly 72 hours between their regular season finale and MondayâÄôs NCAA tournament selection show. Most were spent tensely monitoring conference championships around the country, perpetually evaluating the best remaining teams as one-by-one, squads played their way into the field of 64. Then, shortly after 3:30 p.m., Minnesota and its maroon-and-gold âÄúMâÄù flashed unceremoniously on the screen during ESPNUâÄôs selection show, announcing to an anxious team that it had been granted one of 34 at-large bids, the seventh in program history.
And now, the wait. The Minnesota womenâÄôs soccer team took care of the final component it could control with a 3-0 win at Indiana, the programâÄôs 200th. It submits to the NCAA selection committee a 12-5-3 overall record (4-4-2 Big Ten), three wins over RPI top-50 teams and five one-goal losses, all to teams ranked 51st or higher in the RPI.
Maybe head coach Don Lucia said it best. Right now, his team is âÄúpuzzling.âÄù Here was Minnesota, on a three-game win streak and six days removed from a convincing road sweep of Colorado College. Border rival Wisconsin was in town. Should be an easy one to get up for, right? Apparently not.
A gashed up Zach Budish spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since laying down his moped Monday morning on 15th Avenue SE. Quarter moon scrapes below his lip and above his right eye framed a crimson scab high on his cheekbone; he could walk, but did so with the assistance of a single crutch. âÄúItâÄôs a right knee injury,âÄù Budish said, without elaborating. âÄúJust waiting a little to see what the doctors say and whatâÄôs going to happen next.âÄù
Gophers right winger Zach Budish was injured Monday morning in a moped accident. Budish, a 6-foot-3-inch, 221 pound sophomore, was traveling north on 15th Avenue SE near Dinkytown when he lost his balance and skidded to the ground. No other vehicles were involved. A team spokesman said the severity of BudishâÄôs injuries is still being determined. Tuesday morning, however, FSN analyst Kevin Gorg said on KFAN radio that Budish tore the ACL in one of his knees. Head coach Don Lucia will update BudishâÄôs status Wednesday during his usual media availability.
The Gophers broke out offensively in a big way this weekend and earned their first Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep in nearly a year over Colorado College. TheyâÄôll return to Mariucci Arena this weekend with loads of confidence, but their guests will bring plenty of their own. Wisconsin was the only other WCHA team to sweep this weekend, doing so over Michigan Tech.
OK, back on track. The Minnesota womenâÄôs soccer team snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory Friday night at Northwestern. It sets up an all-important regular season finale next Friday at Indiana. The Gophers were a near-lock for the NCAA tournament, with wins over No. 16 Illinois and No. 17 South Carolina, before they lost three straight to Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. They subsequently slipped out of the top 30 in the RPI and head coach Mikki Denney Wright said before playing the Wildcats that her teamâÄôs collective back was against the wall.
Do pucks fly faster in the mountains? Because in the Rocky Mountain air, nine different Gophers skaters scored 13 goals and the Gophers swept Colorado College on the road, 4-1 Friday and 9-4 Saturday. It was MinnesotaâÄôs first sweep in nearly a year. Rarer than the sweep, however, were the nine goals the Gophers scored Saturday. It was November 2005 the last time they pulled off the elusive nanotuple. And those nine came from all sorts of players, some familiar faces, some new to the 2010-11 score sheet.
When Taylor Matson laces up his left skate on Friday, heâÄôll do so over another, less common, type of lace. Inside the juniorâÄôs ankle is a titanium âÄúropeâÄù holding together the tibia and fibula. Nineteen games into last season, Matson tore his syndesmosis, a wide sheet of ligament that connects the lower leg bones. Though often referred to as a high ankle sprain, a syndesmosis injury is significantly more serious because it destabilizes the ankle.
The diagnosis Friday night was eerily reminiscent of the week prior. âÄúWhen we get down 1-0 weâÄôve got to score the next goal, make it 1-1,âÄù head coach Don Lucia said. Where have we heard that one before? Oh, thatâÄôs right, last weekend when Nebraska-Omaha showed up at Mariucci Arena and swept in its first-ever Western Collegiate Hockey Association series by building early 4-0 and 3-0 leads. Not to be outdone, this weekendâÄôs visitor, St. Cloud State (2-3-1, 1-1-0 WCHA), went up 5-0 on Friday and breezed to a 5-2 win. Same tune, different night.
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