Simone Kolander heads in the first goal in the Gophers 3-0 win over Eastern Michigan. Photo by Jeremy Olson -


Gophers Win Two at Home in Second Week, Remain Undefeated

by on 29 August 2016

The Gophers hosted both North Dakota and Eastern Michigan in their second week of the season and walked away with two wins and two clean sheets. Freshman defender Nikki Albrecht recorded her first collegiate goal on Friday and senior Simone Kolander scored a brace on Sunday. The team remains undefeated in their 2016 campaign.

Minnesota played a high-pressure game against border-rival North Dakota, racking up 42 shots (19 on goal) by 15 different players. The Fighting Hawks barely tested the Gophers with only four shots in the full 90 minutes.

Sophomore April Bockin converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute to put the Gophers on the scoreboard.

Fifteen minutes later, Bockin served in a corner kick that is put away by Nikki Albrecht — her first collegiate goal. Albrecht credits the goal to teamwork. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” she explained. “It was awesome to get that under my belt. I felt really excited and I feel my confidence going forward.”

It was in the 41st minute that the Gophers scored their first goal in the run of play. Junior Sydney Squires scored off a breakaway, making the score 3-0.

The second half continued with the Gophers getting a lot of good looks at the goal, but unable to bury them. North Dakota keeper Catherine Klein tallied a career best 16 saves.

The final score: 3-0

Play was slower against Eastern Michigan in the Sunday afternoon heat, but the Gophers still controlled the game and pinned the Eagles to their half.

In the eighth minute, co-captain Simone Kolander had a golden opportunity with a ball at her feet and a wide open net. She took a solid, confident shot that pounded the near post before going out of bounds. She made up for it just four minutes later when Maddie Gaffney passed the ball across the box, eight yards in front of the net, for Kolander to neatly head in and put the Gophers on the scoreboard.

Kolander wasn’t done. In the 25th minute, she was unmarked, 15 yards in front of the goal, when a high cross from Sydney Squires came right at her, seemingly out of nowhere. Kolander reflexively kicked it in to put the Gophers up 2-0.

There was a bit of excitement in the 78th minute when a shot on goal by Julianna Gernes was saved by Eagle Kaylin Williams, who couldn’t quite clear the ball. This resulted in a scramble in front of the net and another shot that rippled the net. The crowd went wild, the Minnesota Rouser started playing, but it was cut off abruptly. The ball had gone wide and hit the wrong side of the netting.

The crowd was satisfied only four minutes later when Gernes got the ball from TJ McKendrick and blasted it past Williams into the middle of the net from 11 yards.

Julianna Gernes scoring in the 3-0 win over Eastern Michigan - Photo by Jeremy Olson -

Julianna Gernes scoring in the 3-0 win over Eastern Michigan – Photo by Jeremy Olson –

The final score: 3-0

Coach Stefanie Golan saw two very different games despite the same final score. “I was happy with opportunities that we created on Friday night. I thought the speed of play was what we want it to be,” said Golan. Sunday was a different story. “We allowed the game to get slowed down, we allowed ourselves to be a little lazy with the things we were doing. We’ve got to be a team that is better on Sundays than what we are on Fridays,” she explained.

Kolander says the key for the team is focusing on the moment they are in, which is why they’ve chosen “this moment, our time” as their slogan for the season. “When you’re out there, we can’t be focusing on whether we’re going to win or lose. You focus on the play that’s right in front of you in that moment. That is the driving force behind our little slogan and I think it really helps us because we stay focused in every game. We don’t look forward until we’re finished with the game.”

Looking forward
The Gophers will take their 4-0-0 record with them on the road for the next two weeks to wrap up non-conference play. They will face Villanova on Friday, Sept. 2 and Duke on Sunday, Sept. 4.

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