The Gophers currently sit at 12-3-3 overall and 6-1-3 in Big Ten Conference play. They’ve tallied 11 shutouts and seven 3-0 wins. With a strong and persistent attack and a tight defense, they scored 36 goals to their opponents’ 10.
Before any players took to the field, head coaches of the Big Ten’s 14 teams placed Minnesota sixth in the conference in the preseason poll. The Gopher women have surpassed those expectations. With just one game left to play in the regular season the Gophers are at the top of the table, tied with Northwestern and Penn State.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) have ranked the team each week of the season. Currently ranked 11th—highest in the Big Ten—the Gophers entered the rankings at 17 and reached a program high of 8th in September.
Minnesota has also been found each week in the top 30 of the Rating Percentage Index (RPI)—a mathematical rating system based on the number of games teams have won, lost, and tied. They currently are sitting at 20, a spot they’ve hovered just under for weeks.
Their performance on the field can only be rivaled by their performance in the classroom. The NSCAA recognized Minnesota with the Team Academic Award. This award is given to teams with a GPA of 3.0 or greater for the entire 2015-16 academic year. The Gophers more than met that threshold with their GPA of 3.50.
Freshman Nikki Albrecht was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s midseason edition of the top 100 women freshman in the nation. Her place at 43 was the fourth-highest in the Big Ten.
WATCH: Nikki Albrecht with the first goal of the game ?https://t.co/r1JFuK6zlP
— Minnesota Soccer (@GopherSoccer) September 23, 2016
Senior Josee Stiever is one of the two co-captains. Starting every match this season, she’s tallied seven goals and six assists. She was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on August 23. She was named the team’s offensive MVP last year.
— Minnesota Gophers (@GopherSports) September 26, 2016
Senior Tarah Hobbs has been a force between the sticks. She has 47 saves and nine shutouts to her name this season. Her efforts earned her two consecutive weeks in September as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, making her the first soccer player to earn back-to-back individual honors since 2014.
— Minnesota Soccer (@GopherSoccer) October 13, 2016
Senior Simone Kolander is the other co-captain. So far this year she’s scored 11 goals and made the assist on five more. She was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on September 20th and was last year’s Big Ten Forward of the Year. Kolander has also been selected as a candidate for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award. This award recognizes achievements in four areas: community, classroom, character, and competition. Most notably, Kolander is on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy—the most prestigious individual award in college soccer.
— Minnesota Soccer (@GopherSoccer) October 9, 2016
The NCAA division I women’s soccer selections for the fall championship will be announced at 3:30 p.m. CST on Monday, November 7.
In December, seniors Rashida Beal, Hobbs, Kolander, and Stiever will graduate early and have hopes of playing professional soccer.