Minnesota Earns First-Ever Trip To NCAA Quarterfinals

Gophers will face top-seeded team in region, in Notre Dame

Nov. 16, 2008

Courtesy of Minnesota

The Minnesota women’s soccer team used a fast start to make history Sunday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul.

Molly Rouse scored in the second minute and Lindsey Schwartz added a goal and an assist to lift the Golden Gophers to their first ever appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over South Dakota State.

Minnesota (22-3-0) will face the region’s top seed, No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, in the quarterfinals on either Nov. 21, 22 or 23. The NCAA committee is expected to announce the date and location of the match tonight at 8 p.m.

“This was a huge statement for out team,” said Gopher head coach Mikki Denny Wright. “This group of seniors has accomplished a lot of things. They went undefeated at home this year and brought the program the furthest its ever gone in the NCAA Tournament. It shows what the players have give to the program and how they turned the program around in the four years they have been here.”

Denny Wright was looking for Minnesota could get off to a fast start. And for the second straight match the Gophers gave her exactly what she wanted as Minnesota found the back of the net in the second minute of the game.

Rouse took a beautiful feed from the top right of the penalty box from Lindsey Schwartz and looped it over SDSU goalkeeper Nicole Lograsso for a quick 1-0 Minnesota lead. The goal was is the fastest of the year for the Gophers, who improved their record to a spectacular 20-0-0 when scoring first this season.

It was the fourth goal of the season and the second game-winner for Rouse, who moved into third place on the team in scoring with 15 points on the year.

The Gophers’ leading scorer, Schwartz, added a goal of her own just 12 minutes later, nodding in a well-placed cross by Katie Bethke from the left side of the penalty box past Lograsso for a 2-0 Minnesota lead.

It would turn out to be more than enough for the Gophers, who ended the game with a dominating 16-8 advantage in shots, including a 7-2 edge in shots on goal, and won for the eighth time in their last nine games.

Gopher goalkeeper Lindsey Dare stopped both Jackrabbit shots en route to her Big Ten record 17th shutout of the season.

Erin Kasmarik tallied both shots on goal for South Dakota State (15-5-1), while Lograsso made five saves for the Jackrabbits.

The Gophers will now turn their attention to Notre Dame, and take a little time to enjoy the second round victory as well.

“Right now we’re going to enjoy this victory and we are going to prepare the same way we always do. We are going to play Minnesota soccer and put our best performance out there. I think it’s going to be a great game next week. And the key for us against Notre Dame is for us to play our best game.”

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