On Feb. 17, 2012, the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team lost to the University of North Dakota. The Gophers didn’t lose another game until Sunday. After a couple of national championships and 62 wins for Minnesota, the same team that marked the beginning of the streak ended it.
Gophers head coach Sarah Hopkins went to sleep Friday without worrying whether her team would be competing next weekend. The Gophers sealed an automatic bid to the NCAA championships Friday with a second-place finish at the NCAA Midwest regional. “I think we’re all very excited,” redshirt senior Maggie Bollig said. “We’re all really looking forward to next weekend and making another appearance at the NCAAs.”
The Gophers women’s track and field team left the Big Ten championships with a third-place finish. This weekend, it’ll head to the NCAA Midwest regional. “Year in and year out, the way you perform at the Big Ten meet ends up being pretty similar to what shakes out at the region meet,” head coach Sarah Hopkins said. That’s good news for Minnesota.
When head coach Brad Frost first talked to sophomore Brook Garzone this summer about playing defense this season, she thought he was joking. “I wasn’t really thinking about next year,” Garzone said. “He was obviously already thinking about it.”
In between races at the men’s and women’s Big Ten championships, Bev and Jim Docherty swapped out their black and yellow Iowa Hawkeyes gear for maroon and gold Gophers gear. The Dochertys were in West Lafayette, Ind., to cheer on their two youngest children — Kevin, a freshman runner for Iowa, and Laura, a senior for Minnesota. Laura Docherty finished third overall for the Gophers and helped guide her team to a third-place finish overall.
Sophomore Amanda Leveille became a goaltender at an early age because she didn’t want to leave the ice, and playing between the pipes meant she didn’t have to. “I hated coming off the ice,” she said. “I used to cry and pout on the ice, so the coaches just stuck me in net.” She’s come a long way since then but admitted last year was a difficult one because she didnt see much ice time.
It may not always be pretty, but good teams find a way to win no matter the circumstances. Simply put, Minnesota’s women’s hockey team is good. The Gophers, a team already with a short bench, were without three forwards this weekend but managed to come through with 4-1 and 4-3 victories, running its winning streak to 61 games. Minnesota stormed back in dramatic fashion Saturday, scoring both the game-tying and winning goals late in the third period.
The Gophers women’s cross country team rested its top runners for the Rocky’s Run event this weekend. But that doesn’t mean the race was meaningless. Minnesota hosted the 33rd annual Rocky’s Run at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sunday. The event was the Gophers’ last home meet of the season. Freshman Haley Johnson was the first runner to cross the finish line. It was the last race of the season for Johnson, who said she’s come a long way since the beginning of the year.
By her own admission, Sarah Davis didn’t have the best season last year. She recorded 25 points on seven goals and 18 assists, a drop-off from her sophomore season. But Davis came through in the clutch at the end of the year and scored a crucial overtime goal to send the Gophers to the NCAA championship game. “I obviously didn’t have the best season last year,” she said, “but I would have that season and score that goal again anytime.”
This Sunday’s Rocky’s Run at Les Bolstad Golf Course will highlight significant pieces of the women’s cross country team’s future. As top runners prepare for the NCAA Midwest Regionals, members of the team’s second group will have an opportunity to assert themselves. Rocky’s Run is the last meet of the season for the second pack and serves as a chance for coaches to gauge progress from the Oz Memorial, the first meet of the season.