Football | 13-10-21 12:26:00 hrs
MINNEAPOLIS —The University of Minnesota (6-4-3, 2-4-0 B1G) will make its season debut on the Big Ten Network when Illinois (5-7-1, 1-4-1 B1G) comes to Minneapolis on Thursday. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Oct. 14. The Golden Gophers then travel to Evanston on Sunday, October 17 for a kick-off at 3:00 PM.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE THIS WEEKEND?
Minnesota: With wins over Illinois and Northwestern, the Gophers would propel themselves to 12 B1G points, likely placing them in the top eight in the Big Ten class with two more maths to go this season
Minnesota: A clean sweep this weekend over both Illinois Big Ten teams would be the first time Minnesota defeated both Illinois and Northwestern in the same season since 2012
Illinois: With matches involving Minnesota and Iowa, the Fighting Illini could make a Big Ten Tournament punch this weekend with a few wins this weekend
Northwestern: Currently sixth in the Big Ten, six points would almost confirm the Wildcats place at the 2021 Big Ten tournament and put them in position to earn a top four seed and host the first round
LAST TIME OFF – NO. 25 PURDUE
The University of Minnesota (6-4-3, 2-4-0 B1G) was unable to hold onto a 2-0 lead on the road in a 3-2 loss to No. 25 Purdue at West Lafayette on Oct. 10. sophomore Sophia Boman and Christa VanLoon scored for the Maroon and Gold in the defeat.
“We are disappointed with today’s result. Every time you go into halftime with a 2-0 lead it can be a dangerous scoreline because sometimes you feel a little too comfortable,” head coach Erin Chastain said. “Even though we prepared our group for that, Purdue came out and set the tone in the second half. We’ve never really had anyone come up and set the tone on our side in the second half. I thought we set the tone in the second half.first half, which is positive but good teams with good players will do that.They are a top 25 team for a reason and have had a lot of results this season.
– The last time the Gophers played against Illinois and Northwestern, the team played at the Recreation and Wellness Sports Field Complex in Minneapolis.
– Illinois last made the NCAA tournament in 2013, reaching the third round after victories over No. 21 Washington State and No. 7 Portland before falling to Boston College
– Northwestern last played in the NCAA tournament in 2018, falling in the first round on the road 1-0 to NC State
Minnesota currently has a seven game winning streak against the Boilermakers with the last loss to the Gophers in the series in 2011.
– The 2021 season for Minnesota will be the first under the new leadership of Erin Chastain who returned to her alma mater after serving as head coach at DePaul for the past 14 seasons
– The University of Minnesota coaching staff consists of four women, making them one of only four contributors at the Power 5 conferences to have an all-female staff
PLUG AND PLAY
So far this season, the Gophers have had to adapt and adapt to who is available with seven different starting grids this season so far. In an impressive way Elizabeth Overberg is one of two Big Ten true freshmen to have played every minute this season (Sydney Jones, Ohio State), playing as center back for the Gophers alongside senior captain Delaney Stekr who has also played all 1230 minutes this season.
Since the game’s inception in the Big Ten on September 18, the Gophers have been the Big Ten’s deadliest attack, scoring 13 goals in six games (with a leading score of 2,167). Not only did Minnesota score, but they did it in the most efficient way possible, scoring 21.3 as the best in the league during Big Ten play. Individually during conference play, Izzy Brown leads the Gophers and equals the second most goals in conference play with four, the best on the team this season with her 22.2 scoring percentage. In addition, it is one of only three Big Ten schools this season to score in every Big Ten game, along with now No. 19 Purdue and No. 9 Rutgers.
The Fighting Illini (5-7-1, 1-4-1 B1G) are fresh off a 1-1 draw with Wisconsin, which gets votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll. The Illini are undefeated in their last two games and their last win was a 2-1 win over Maryland at home. Illinois’ Big Ten Network matchup with Minnesota is the team’s second game on the national TV stage this season, with Illinois falling to No. 2 North Carolina by a score of 5-1. Illinois is led offensively by senior midfielder Hope Breslin, who has scored six goals this season, including that goal against the Tar Heels in August. In Big Ten play, defenseman Kendra Pasquale was the biggest offensive threat as he was the only Illinois student athlete to score multiple goals since the conference began. Multiple goalkeepers have seen action for Illinois this season, with Julia Cili making the most recent start in the 1-1 draw with Wisconsin. Cili has averaged 1.82 against the average this season and made 31 saves with a 3-3-1 record in seven games.
As a team, Illinois is fourth in the Big Ten this season in total goals scored this season, scoring a total of 24, but only six in conference play. Overall, the Illini are one of the cleanest teams in the country in terms of fouls per game with just 11.69 this season. The last time the Gophers and Illini met, it ended in a goalless draw at the Recreation and Wellness Sports Field Complex in Minneapolis.
The Wildcats (7-5-1, 3-2-1 B1G) had broken their four-game undefeated streak last weekend in a 1-0 loss at home to Indiana. Northwestern’s biggest win this season was a 2-1 road win over then No. 12 Penn State. Offensively, sophomore midfielder Josie Aulicino helped the Wildcats win this season with a total of six goals and seven assists, two of them in the Big Ten game. Graduate student Regan Steigleder also scored a few goals during the conference portion of the season, scoring the game winners over Illinois and Nebraska. In goal, senior Mackenzie Wood made all 13 starts this season and has a goal this season at an average of 1.20, while making 54 saves.
As a team, Northwestern has averaged the fourth most corners in the conference this season, with six per game. Aside from that, statistically speaking, the Wildcats have a center of the pack with the squad’s best stat of a 51.2 goal accuracy shot this season. The last time the Gophers and Wildcats met, it was Minnesota who claimed the win with a Sadie Harper golden goal in extra time.
FIRST HALF FRENZY
Of Minnesota’s 21 goals this season, 15 have come in the first half of the game, with two added to that list during last weekend’s action against then-number 25 Purdue. specifically: Izzy Brown has scored five of those first-half goals for Minnesota, most recently scoring the game-winning goal for the Maroon and Gold against Penn State in the 25th minute.
UNWORN IN NON-CONFERENCE GAME
For the first time since the legendary 2008 Gopher squad that reached the NCAA Tournament Third Round Minnesota, the non-conference portion of the schedule finished undefeated (4-0-3). The non-conference point was just the second time in the program’s history that the Gophers hadn’t taken a loss before Big Ten played and did so without conceding a single goal.
A RECORD BREAKING START OF THE CHASTAIN ERA
The dawn of the Chastain era was one for the record books in 2021. Erin Chastain, who returned to Minnesota to lead the Gophers after 14 seasons with DePaul, began her opening season with an undefeated 4-0-3 start, making her just the fourth women’s soccer coach in Big Ten history, and the first Minnesota soccer coach. . begins her first year undefeated in her first seven games.
Minnesota’s next test will be in front of a nationally televised audience when Illinois comes to town on October 14 to play on the B1G Network from 8 p.m. CT. Coming off a game against Wisconsin, the Fighting Illini are 1-4-1 in Big Ten play this season. The last time the Gophers played against Illinois, the game ended in a 0-0 draw in Minneapolis.
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