Just two days after forcing a draw vs. Wisconsin, Maryland women’s soccer takes on Minnesota in its second Big Ten home game. In 2016, the Golden Gophers destroyed the Terps 6-0 during the final game of the season in St. Paul.
However, this season Maryland enters the game with a better record than Minnesota. In fact, the Terps 7-2-2 record is their best since 2012, when they went 8-2-3 to begin the season.
Maryland and Minnesota will start their game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and BTN Plus will have the broadcast.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-2-3, 2-1-1 Big Ten)
2016 record: 16-3-4, 7-1-3 Big Ten
Head coach Stefanie Golan. Golan has been leading Minnesota’s program since 2012, and the team has responded to her presence. In each of Golan’s first five seasons, Minnesota has had a winning record, culminating in the team’s third winningest season in 2016, when Golan won the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Players to know
Sydney Squires, senior, forward, No. 7. Squires, the 2016 Big Ten Most Outstanding Offensive Player, is one of the best players in the country. In each of her four years, she’s scored more goals and points than the previous year, totaling 27 goals and 64 points so far in her career. This season, she is tied for second in the country in 10 goals and fifth in points, with 10 and 23 respectively. Last season, Squires scored on Maryland twice in Minnesota’s victory.
Julianna Gernes, senior, forward, No. 23. Gernes had a breakout 2016 campaign, and her play has carried over into this season. After finishing last season with six goals and 14 points, the senior is on going to top that this year as she already has five goals and 10 points, both second on the team to Squires.
April Bockin, junior, forward, No. 20. While Squires and Gernes have been Minnesota’s finishers, Bockin is the player who best sets them up for scores. With two assists vs. Rutgers on Friday, Bockin reached nine assists on the season, more than anyone else in the country. Through 50 games, Bockin has a total of 10 goals and 17 assists, turning into one of Minnesota’s most reliable players.
Scoring. Thanks to its three-headed monster of Squires, Gerness and Bockin, Minnesota is one of the best offensive teams in the country. The Golden Gophers are averaging 2.45 goals, 7.72 points and 18.63 shots per game, each of which ranks in the nation’s top 20. In Big Ten play, Minnesota is outscoring its opponents 11-5.
Goalkeeping. Minnesota has had trouble finding consistency in goal, as both Kailee Sharp and Maddie Nielsen have played at least 300 minutes in net. Entering Friday’s game, even though the team only allowed seven goals on the year, Minnesota ranked last among 333 eligible teams with only 1.6 saves per game.
Three things to watch
- Can Maryland keep up its offensive momentum? The Terps’ play in the final 65 minutes against Wisconsin was probably their best stretch since beginning the Big Ten schedule. Maryland needs to build off this strong play against Minnesota, a team that can score with the best in the country.
- Can Maryland’s defense stop Minnesota’s offense? On Friday, the Terps’ defense kept them in the game, as four players played the entire game and shutdown Wisconsin after halftime. Minnesota presents a more difficult challenge for the Terps, and Rachel Egyed, Hope Gouterman and the rest of the back end need to lead the way to give Maryland a shot.
- How much will Jarena Harmon play? For the second straight game, the junior came off the bench and played limited minutes as she continues to deal with an injury. Harmon is one of Maryland’s most experienced and accomplished offensive players, and getting her back in a larger role would change how opposing teams treat Maryland’s offense.