Building up to the team's 2018-19 campaign, head coach Richard Pitino has challenged his players every day. The expectation this season is that Minnesota will compete for a Big Ten title, something the team was expected to do last year.
Both the men's and women's golf teams are building towards the future. With plenty of young talent on both programs, this fall served as an early glimpse at what the teams can become in the spring.
With temperatures dropping and leaves changing colors, the fall season has officially come to an end for Minnesota's men's and women's golf teams. Both traveled to warmer climates and played their final rounds until February on Tuesday. The men's team finished ninth and the women's team finished 13th in their respective tournaments.
Over the past four years, the faces on Minnesota's women's golf team have changed significantly. Players graduate or transfer and new recruits take their place. Experienced leaders play an important role in the preparation and growth of younger teammates. For the Gophers, that leader is Maggie Heggerston.
The expectations were high from the moment Lincoln Johnson set foot on campus. The Chaska, Minnesota native was one of Minnesota's top golf recruits coming out of high school, earning all-state recognition in 2017 and a fourth-place finish at the Class AAA state tournament.
The Gophers had their best finish of the season at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate over the weekend.
Joanne Free wasted no time becoming one of the most important players for the women's golf team. She played in all nine tournaments as a freshman, posting a stroke average of 76.58. That total was third-best on the team and the fourth-best of all-time among Gophers freshmen.
Minnesota tied for fifth overall at a tournament in Erin, Wisconsin this week.
After four consecutive shutouts, Nielsen allowed two goals as Minnesota (7-5-1, 3-2-1) lost to Rutgers (7-1-4, 3-0-2) 2-1 in double overtime on Sunday.
The Minnesota men's golf team relies on international recruiting as an integral key to their success, a fact associate head coach Justin Smith knows better than anyone.