Minnesota Returns Home to Take on No. 9 Rutgers, Penn State

Minnesota Returns Home to Take on No. 9 Rutgers, Penn State

Soccer | 9/29/2021 12:54:00 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota (5-2-3, 1-2-0 B1G) returns home to take on No. 9 Rutgers (7-2-0, 2-0-0 B1G) and Penn State (6-4-0, 0-3-0 B1G) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The Gophers and Scarlet Knights will clash on Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. on BTN+ with the match against Penn State kicking off on Oct. 3, at 1 p.m. on BTN+. 
The University of Minnesota (5-2-3, 1-2-0 B1G) dropped a road match against Michigan State (7-1-2, 2-1-0 B1G) by a score of 2-1 at DeMartin Stadium on Sept. 26. Junior forward Izzy Brown scored Minnesota’s lone goal in the match with senior McKenna Buisman getting credit for the assist.
“Obviously we are disappointed with today’s loss,” head coach Erin Chastain said. “Proud that with 10 minutes left we tied it up. It was a great goal and executed really well. I think we over complicated some simple plays down the stretch especially. And then I think we kind of gifted them a goal on the gamewinner. That’s disappointing but I still believe in our group and I think coming out of the weekend 1-1, we’ll focus on that. We’ll also focus on a really tough Rutgers team on Thursday and get back to work on the training field. It’s a great group and this year they have typically had really good responses so we’ll expect the same next week.”


– Minnesota lost to both Rutgers and Penn State in their latest meetings with the two programs with Minnesota failing to score in either of those matches that occurred this past spring

– The only Minnesota native the Gophers will come across this weekend is on Penn State’s roster in the form of Kaitlyn MacBean, a sophomore from Maple Grove, Minn.

– Both Rutgers and Penn State made the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament last season, with Penn State reaching the third round and falling to the eventual national runner-up Florida State

– 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 the head coach at DePaul for the past 14 seasons

– The University of Minnesota coaching staff is comprised of four women, making them one of just four staffs across the Power 5 conferences to have an all-female staff



In her first year rocking the Maroon and Gold junior forward Izzy Brown has been a legitimate threat offensively for the Gophers. The UNC-transfer leads the team with five goals this season, most recently notching two dramatic goals last weekend against Ohio State and Michigan State. Brown has also been Minnesota’s most efficient finisher this season with 22.7 percent of her shots resulting in goals this season (min. 10 shots).



Minnesota responded well to adversity in their two matches last weekend, falling behind in both matches before either tying up the match or taking the lead. Minnesota’s two-goal comeback vs. Ohio State that ended in a 4-2 win for the Maroon and Gold was the first time the team had made such a comeback since 2012 vs. Wisconsin. The Gophers fell behind again on Sunday and tied up the match with just 10 minutes left before dropping the Big Ten battle 2-1.



The Scarlet Knights (7-2-0, 2-0-0 B1G) hit the road for the first time since Sept. 12, when they visit the Gophers on Sept. 30. Rutgers played in just one match last week after their match against Michigan was postponed due to weather. The Scarlet Knights are on a three-match winning streak, most recently defeating Nebraska 1-0 on Sept. 26. Senior Frankie Tagliaferri is the team’s leader in goals this season with seven, which is also tied for the most in the Big Ten this season while sophomore Sam Kroeger is second on the team with five goals. Four different goalkeepers have seen time in goal this season for Rutgers with Meagan McClelland making all nine starts. McClelland has allowed seven goals for a goals against average of 0.83 this season and made 20 saves in just over 760 minutes in net.


As a team Rutgers, who made the NCAA Tournament last season, ranks near the top of the Big Ten in many categories. Most notably they have the highest scoring offense in the conference, averaging 3.56 goals per match while also ranking No. 1 in shot accuracy (0.546), shot on goal per match (10.56) and corner kicks per match (7.89). Last time the Gophers and Scarlet Knights faced off was just 192 days ago when Rutgers edged Minnesota 1-0 in New Jersey. The match ended with Rutgers registering just two total shots, both on goal.



The Nittany Lions (6-4-0, 0-3-0 B1G) are aiming to pick up their first Big Ten victory this weekend after falling to 0-3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time in program history. Most recently Penn State, who were selected as the favorites to win the Big Ten in the preseason Coaches’ Poll, dropped a 1-0 match at home to Ohio State. Individually Payton Linnehan has led the way this season with six goals and three assists to lead the team with 15 points. Both Sam Coffey and Ally Schlegel both have three goals each with Coffey’s four assists leading the Nittany Lions this season. In goal it has been redshirt junior Katherine Asman making all 10 starts this season, giving up 11 goals while making 39 saves with a 0.780 save percentage.


The Nittany Lions have won three straight over the Gophers and have not lost to Minnesota since 2015, with that loss occurring in State College, Pa., when Simone Kolander helped Minnesota defeat No. 4 Penn State. Last season the Gophers fell in a 3-0 match on the road when Penn State was ranked No. 11 in the country. As a team Penn State is, statistically, the most physical team in the Big Ten this season with an average of 5.90 fouls per match which is also the 16th most in the nation this season.



Ten of Minnesota’s 14 goals this season have come in the first half with six of those goals coming within the first 15 minutes of the match. All five of the Gophers game-winning goals have come in the first half with Izzy Brown’s first-minute goal against Wyoming being the fastest goal of the season for the Maroon and Gold. Minnesota holds a record of 5-1-0 when the team scores in the first half. 



For the first time since the legendary 2008 Gopher squad that reached the NCAA Tournament Third Round Minnesota finished the non-conference portion of its schedule undefeated (4-0-3). The run in the non-conference was just the second time in program history the Gophers had not taken a loss before Big Ten play and did so without allowing a single goal.



The dawn of the Chastain era has been one for the record books in 2021. Erin Chastain, who returned home to Minnesota to lead the Gophers after 14 seasons at DePaul, kicked off her opening season with a undefeated 4-0-3 start, marking just the fourth women’s soccer coach in Big Ten history, and first Minnesota soccer coach, to start her first year undefeated in her first seven matches.



After a tough stretch the Gophers will be able to take some time off with just one match scheduled in week four of the Big Ten season. Minnesota will travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue on Oct. 10, at 12 p.m. on BTN+. Purdue currently sits atop of the Big Ten standings with nine points with a perfect 3-0-0 record in the Big Ten this season. Last time Minnesota took on the Boilermakers the Gophers won 1-0 at home.


Credit: Source link