The Gophers will face off against Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa State, and South Dakota State between March 25 and April 22. The short pre-season gives the team and coaches a chance to adjust as outgoing seniors make room for their rising classmates.
Head coach Stefanie Golan will be looking for leaders to emerge to replace co-captains Simone Kolander and Josee Stiever, who graduated early in December. Also graduated are four-year starting goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs and defender Rashida Beal. Beal was drafted by the NWSL’s FC Kansas City in January.
Three rising seniors to keep an eye on are defenders Tori Burnett and Maddie Gaffney and forward Kellie McGahn. All three started every game in the fall season and made valuable contributions on the field. Also of note is Alysse Lamond. The freshman midfielder has joined the team after graduating high school early. The chance to play with the team this spring could give her the edge over other freshman not joining the team until next fall.
Coach Golan may also use the season to experiment and re-tool. For example, during last year’s spring season, the team implemented a new system of play. They went on to have one of the most successful campaigns in program history, finishing as Big Ten champions for both the season and conference tournament, and 20th overall in the final RPI.
All five games are exhibition games and are free to the public.
FiftyFive.One is now on Patreon. Do you like the independent coverage of soccer news from Minnesota and beyond that FiftyFive.One offers? Please consider becoming a patron.
Tags: Gopher Soccer