A Gophers athletic team can win at least a share of a Big Ten title on Wednesday night.
All it has to do is beat a big underdog, at home, in its final regular-season match of the season.
The Gophers women's soccer team is tied for the conference lead with defending national champion Penn State and Northwestern. All three are 7-1-3 in conference matches.
And Minnesota, ranked No. 11, is 12-3-3 overall and leads the Big Ten in goals (36) and assists (34) and shots (307).
The Gophers have won three conference titles before, in 1995, '97 and 2008.
To win a fourth, they have to beat Maryland (3-14-1, 1-9-0). The 14th team, or last in the Big Ten. The Terrapins are on an eight-match losing streak and have been shut out in their past five matches during which they have been outscored 11-0. Their one Big Ten win came against Illinois on Sept. 22.
(That's quite a contract to the Terps men's soccer team which is No. 1 in the country, 14-0-2 overall and 6-0-1 in the Big Ten.)
The Terps do have two players who can score. Junior Chelsea Jackson has nine goals -- the last four on headers -- and sophomore Jarena Harmon has eight goals.
Minnesota is on a five-match unbeaten streak (3-0-2). The Gophers are coming off a 0-0 tie with Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., last weekend.
The Gophers have three talented scorers. Simone Kolander has 11 goals, the second most of any Big Ten player, while Josee Stiever and April Bockin have seven apiece. Stiever has four game-winners.
Goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs has 31 career shutouts, a program record. Nine have come this season, seven in conference matches. Her 0.56 goals-against average is second in the Big Ten and her .825 save percentage is the third best.
Both Penn State (10-3-4 overall) and Northwestern (13-1-3) face tougher foes on Wednesday night in their regular-season finales.
No. 21 PSU hosts Ohio State (10-5-3, 4-3-3), tied for seventh place in the Big Ten.
No. 20 Northwestern hosts Illinois (6-10-2, 3-5-2), 10th in the Big Ten.