Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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U's most amazing streak: 15-0-2 vs. Badgers in women's hockey

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers Updated: March 20, 2015 - 3:25 AM

There are a lot of huge rivalries in college sports.

Michigan vs. Ohio State in football, or maybe Alabam vs. Auburn, Southern Cal vs. UCLA.

Or in men's basketball, North Carolina vs. Duke, or in women's Connecticut vs. Notre Dame.

But when it comes to women's hockey, the biggest has to be the Gophers vs. Wisconsin. And you know what they say about rivalry games: Throw out the records, anything can happen when two revved up teams meet.

That is what is so amazing about the Gophers' recent dominance of the Badgers.The U is 15-0-2 against Wisconsin in their past 17 meetings with a 14-game winning streak until a tie in their last meeting. Got to grate at the Badgers a lot.

Every time they have met since the Gophers' streak began -- until the last three meetings this season -- one or the other has been the No. 1 team in the country and the other always in the top 10, usually high up.

Given the elite level of both programs, I daresay, this streak actually is more impressive than the Gophers going 41-0 in 2012-13; they were favored to win almost every night and did.

Not so in this streak. Five times in the past 17 games, Wisconsin was the higher rated team, in each case, rated No. 1. Didn't matter, though. Coach Brad Frost's players found a way to win (except for two ties).

Here is a detailed look at the Gophers' dominance -- starting with the last game Wisconsin won in the series to add perspective:

2011-12 season

Nov. 14, 2011: No. 1 Wisconsin 3, No. 3 Gophers 2 at Kohl Center in Madison: Badgers scored twice in the first four minutes and led 3-0 after first period. With win, they tied the NCAA record for longest unbeaten streak, 32 games. (Minnesota shattered it two dayy later.) ... Gophers goalie Noora Raty made 14 saves in first period, 25 in game. ... Anne Schleper and Rachael Bona had Gophers' goals. ... Wisconsin had 28-27 edge in shots.

Nov. 16, 2011: No. 3 Gophers 3, No. 1 Wisconsin 2 at Kohl Center: Goals by Sarah Davis in first and Meghan Lorence in second gave U a 2-0 lead. Badgers ralled to tie score, but Amanda Kessel scored nine minutes into third period to win it. ... Raty had 25 saves, 14 in the second. ... Gophers' unbeaten streak vs. Badgers starts.

Jan. 4, 2012: No. 2 Gophers 3, No. 1 Wisconsin 3, OT, tie (Badgers win shootout 1-0) at Ridder: The Badgers led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. But Anne Schleper, Jen Schoullis and Megan Bozek scored goals for Minnesota to keep tying it. Bozek, a defenseman, scored on a power play with 2:08 in the third period. ... Raty had 34 saves. ... Hilary Knight, the sixth shooter in the shootout, scored the first goal to give Wisconsin an extra point in the WCHA standings, but officially, game was a tie. ... Shots were 41-37 for Gophers.

Jan. 5, 2012: No. 2 Gophers 1, No. 1 Wisconsin 0 at Ridder: Senior defenseman scored goal 6:31 into game. ... Raty had 32 saves for shutout; Wisconsin had not been shut oout since Feb. of 2010. ... U had 42-32 edge in shots. ... Gophers now 2-0-1 vs. Badgers in past three games.

March 18, 2012: No. 2 Gophers 4, No. 1 Wisconsin 2 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth in NCAA title game: Gophers took a 2-0 lead in first, the Badgers tied it. But Emily West scored on a penalty shot with 1:32 left in opening period to give U a 3-2 lead. ... Sarah Erickson made it 4-2 early in third period with her second goal of the game. Amanda Kessel had other goal for Gophers. ... Noora Raty made 42 saves and was named women's Frozen Four MVP. .... Shots were 44-25 for Badgers, 20-9 in third period. ... This was first title for U since 2005. ... Gophers finish season 34-5-2, Badgers at 33-5-2 had nearly same mark. ... Gophers on 3-0-1 streak vs. Wisconsin.

2012-13 season

Dec. 1, 2012: No. 1 Gophers 4, No. 10 Wisconsin 1 at Ridder: Minnesota scored four goals in second period. Maryanne Menefee had the first, then Amanda Kessel and Sarah Davis scored in the middle of the period, 1:06 apart, and Becky Kortum had final goal. ... Badgers scored in third period. ... Win was 25th in a row for Gophers and made them 17-0 this season. ... Gophers had 41-23 edge in shots; Raty made 22 stops.

Dec. 2, 2012:No.1 Gophers 2, No. 10 Wisconsin 0 at Ridder: Finnish defenseman Mira Jalosuo broke a scoreless tie at 9:14 of the third period on a power play. Amanda Kessel added an empty-netter with 10 seconds left. ... Raty made 19 saves for the shutout. Shots were 38-19 for U. ... Last Gophers sweep of Wisconsin was Jan. 29-30, 2005.

Jan. 25, 2013: No. 1 Gophers 2, No. 8 Wisconsin 0 at LaBahn Arena: Gophers took a 2-0 lead in first period of this games. Hannah Brandt scored at 4:28 and Jalosuo at 18:02 on a power play. ... The win was the Gophers 33rd in a row, breaking Wisconsin's NCAA record for longest unbeaten streak (32). ... Gave Gophers 25-0 record. ... Shots were 35-25 for U; Raty made 25 saves for 99th career win, one shy of NCAA record.

Jan. 26, 2013: No. 1 Gophers 5, No. 8 Wisconsin 1 at LaBahn Arena: Becky Kortum and Hannah Brandt scored for Minnesota in first period, Kelly Terry in second and Rachel Ramsey and Megan Bozek in third. ... Shots were 39-23 for U. Raty had 22 saves. ... Raty got her 100th career win, tying NCAA record. ... U swept Wisconsin in season series for first time since 1999-2000, and swept a series in Madison for first time since 2003-04. ... Gophers on 7-0-1 roll over Badgers.

(Gophers finished season 41-0, beating Boston University 6-3 for second NCAA title in a row.)

2013-14 season

Oct. 11, 2013: No. 1 Gophers 2, No. 4 Wisconsin 1 at Ridder: All three goals in game came on power plays. Maryanne Menefee had goal for Gophers in first period, which ended with the score 1-1. Milica McMillen scored at 7:12 of the third. ... Shots were 35-23 for Wisconsin, but sophomore Amanda Leveille made 34 stops for Minnesota, 18 in the second period. ... Badgers were 1-for-4 on the power play with nine shots, Gophers 2-for-3 with seven. 

Oct. 12, 2013: No. 1 Gophers 2, No. 4 Wisconsin 0 at Ridder: Kelly Terry had both goals, at 5:42 and 13:30 of third. Dani Cameranesi had one of the assists on each. ... Shots were 33-27 for Gophers; Leveille got the shutout with 27 saves.

Feb. 14, 2014: No. 1 Gophers 3, No. 2 Wisconsin 2 at Kohl Center: Rachael Bona scored in second period and Milica McMillen at 3:37 on a power play in third to put Gophers ahead 2-1. The Badgers tied it at 5:18, but Dani Cameranesi scored the game-winner at 9:02. ... Gophers blocked 17 shots; U had 33-23 edge in shots on goal. ... Leveille stopped 21 shots.

Feb. 15, 2014: No. 1 Gophers 4, No. 2 Wisconsin 0 at Kohl Center: This game was heavily promoted and brought out an NCAA record 13,573 for a women's game. Kelly Terry and Hannah Brandt scored in the second period for the Gophers and Bethany Brauser and Meghan Lorence in the third. Leveille stopped 24 shots for save. Win gave Minnesota 30-1-1 record.

March 21, 2014: No. 1 Gophers 5, No. 4 Wisconsin 3 in Hamden, Conn., in Frozen Four semifinals: After a scoreless opening period, both teams scored twice in the second. Kelly Terry and Maryanne Menefee, on a power play, had the Gophers' goals. Brandt broke the tie on a power-play goal at 5:57 of the third. Rachael Bona made it 4-2 at 8:06 and Baylee Gillanders 5-2 at 12:32. Minnesota outscored the Badgers 3-0 in the third but only had an 11-8 edge in shots on goal.

Oct. 17, 2014: No. 2 Gophers 4, No. 1 Wisconsin 1 at LaBahn Center: Brandt gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal at 6:46 of the opening period. The Badgers tie the score, but 1:10 later, Dani Cameranesi makes is 2-1 at 9:34 with the first of her three goals. With one second left in period, Cameranesi puts Minnesota ahead 3-1. She completes her hat trick with 40 seconds left in the second to make it 4-1. Amanda Leveille had 23 saves for the Gophers, who had a 26-24 edge in shots on goal.

Oct. 18, 2014: No. 2 Gophers 2, No. 1 Wisconsin 1 (OT) at LaBahn Center: This is a game the Badgers should have won. They took a 1-0 lead in the middle of the second period and held the lead until Rachael Bona of the Gophers scored with 1:28 left in the third. Defenseman Rachel Ramsey's goal at four minutes of overtime extended the U's winning streak over Wisconsin. Amanda Leveille made a career-high 40 saves for the Gophers. Ann-Renee Desbiens had 33 for the Badgers. ... Gophers were 1x6 on power play, Badgers 1x5, so both teams had chances to win in regulation.

Jan. 10, 2015: No. 2 Gophers 4, No. 3 Wisconsin 1 at Ridder: First time since U's streak began one of these teams was not No. 1 when these rivals met. Cara Piazza gave Gophers 1-0 lead in the first. After Wisconsin tied it in the second, Hannah Brandt put Gophers ahead at 15:54. Gophers got two more goals in third, Cameranesi at 5:23 and Brandt at 14:17. U had 31- 24 edge in shorts. Leveille had 23 saves.

Jan. 11, 2015: No. 2 Gophers 1, No. 3 Wisconsin 1, OT, tie, at Ridder: Although this game officially counts as a tie, the Gophers got an extra point in the WCHA standings because they won the shootout 1-0. Hannah Brandt, the Gophers' first shootout, got a goal but nobody else did. In regulation, Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead with 22 seconds left in the second. The Gophers tied it on Brandt's goal at 13:38 of the third. Leveille had 32 saves -- four more than Ann-Renee Desbiens of Wisconsin. Minnesota had only five shots on goal in overtime.

March 20, 2015: No. 2 Gophers vs. No. 3 Wisconsin at Rider in Frozen Four semifinal.

Can the Gophers find another way to win Saturday? Sure seems like an improbable streak.

U baseball closes with long homestand, but home opener March 24?

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers Updated: October 17, 2014 - 2:00 AM

So when the Gophers baseball schedule comes out, what is the first thing you look at?

For me, it's easy. When is the first home game -- now that the Metrodome is history and the Gophers play outside at the new Seibert Field.

In 2015, there is a 3 p.m. nonconference game scheduled with Augsburg on March 24.

Think they will get that game in? The average temperature in Minneapolis that date, based on figures from 1998 to 2012, is between 33 and 46. It is rarely below 21, or above 60.

Bring a jacket.

It's usally partly cloudy with a 45 percent chance of precipitation, usually a little snow, but it's least likely to fall around 4 p.m.

There's an 18 percent chance there will be snow on ground. (Seems low.) And the average depth, if there is snow, is 4.6 inches.

Seibert has artificial turf and is set up to drain well. So if the weather gods smile on the Gophers, they'll sure try to play.

Here is a breakdown of the rest of the schedule -- divided into four parts:

I. The Southern Trek (18 games, plus 1 exhibition)

Anderson's boys of spring start out with seven games in Texas, three vs. Houston Feb. 13-15, four vs. Texas, Feb. 20-22.

Then it's on to Fort Myers, Fla., for three games vs. Florida Gulf Coast Feb. 27-28 and March 1 and an exhibition with the Minnesota Twins on March 4.

Next stop is Omaha, March 6-8 for two games against Creighton and, in between, one against North Dakota.

Final stop on this southern swing is Richmond, Va., for the VCU (Virginia Commonwalth Univ.) PK5 Classic  March 13-15 (three games) and two games vs. Richmond March 17-18.

II. The Big Ten road swing (14 games)

The Gophers open the Big Ten season on the road at conference newcomer Maryland, March 20-22, in College Park. And three of their first four series in conference play are on the road.

Next is Northwestern at home, March 27-29, weather permitting.

Then on the road again, at Rutgers, the other new conference team, April 3-5 in Piscataway, N.J. and at Nebraska, April 10-12.

Now blended in there, on weekdays, are nonconference games at home against Augsburg, as mentioned above, on March 24 and St. Thomas, on April 8.

III. Home sweet home (20 games)

After returning from Lincoln, Neb. The Gophers can pretty much put their suitcases away. They are home for 16 of their final 20 regular-season games.

The schedule:

North Dakota, April 14

Penn State, April 17-19

South Dakota State, April 22

Michigan, April 24-26

Kansas State, April 28-29

California-Irvine, May 1-3

Then two nearby out-of-town junkets:

At North Dakota State, May 5

At Iowa, May 8-10

And then a closing series at Seibert:

Michigan State, May 14-16

IV. Postseason

The top eight Big Ten teams advance to the conference tournament and the champion there gets an automatic NCAA bid.

What's nice for the Gophers is that for the second time in three years, the Big Ten Tournament is at Target Center, May 20-23.

The regionals are May 29-31

The super regionals are June 5-7

The College World Series in Omaha is June 13-15.

Big Ten schedule breakdown

Play on the road: Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska, Iowa

Play at home: Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State

Not on schedule: Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State

U shut out in soccer for first time despite 22 shots

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers Updated: September 21, 2014 - 2:00 AM

Gophers coach Stefanie Golan started her four seniors on Senior Night at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul.

Those four are Katie Thyken, Olivia Schultz, Taylor Wodnick and Becca Roberts.

But the visitors, Iowa, spoiled the festivities.

The Hawkeyes won 1-0, getting a goal from an unusual source, or head, to be more specific.

Sophomore Amanda Lulek, all 5-7 of her, scored on a header in the 33rd minute following a corner kick. It was her first goal of the season, no wait, it was her first goal of her college career. And it came on her only shot of the game, and first of the year in three matches.

Want more hard-to-believe stuff. Lulek scored under a minute after she went into the game. She entered at 31:38 and scored at 32:31.

"Heartbreaking loss as we played great," Golan tweeted. "1st time we've been shut out all year but the soccer looked great."

The Gophers had a 22-9 advantage in shots and a 5-1 edge in shots on goal.

Trouble was, they went up against a hot, hot goalie. Junior Hannah Clark of Iowa came into the game with three consecutive shutouts. Now it's four in a row. She had not allowed a goal in 363 minutes and 13 seconds.

Her play has helped Iowa start 8-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten. That's the best conference start for Iowa ever.

This was only the fourth win for Iowa over the Gophers and their first in the Land of 10,000 Lakes since 2007.

Clark made five saves. Rachel McCloskey had the Gophers last shot, at 89:31, but it went wide.

Gophers goalie Tarah Hobbs, the returning Big Ten goalkeeper of the year, made only one save, in the 88th minute.

The loss drops the Gophers to 4-5 overall, 1-2 in the Big Ten. After scoring 10 goals against Stetson in their season opener, Minnesota only has nine goals in the last eight games.

Thyken led the Gophers in shots against Iowa with six, Haley Helverson led in shots on goal with two. And the Gophers had an 8-1 edge in corner kicks, but Iowa scored on the only one the Hawkeyes had.

Iowa also had one of the best scoring chances in the game very early, At 8:52, Cloe Lacasse hit a post.

Gophers volleyball team sweeps twice in Rocket Invite

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers Updated: September 20, 2014 - 12:12 AM

Coach Hugh McCutcheon had to be pleased Friday with his team's second match.

The Gophers dispatched Toledo 25-13, 25-18, 25-18. And four players had 10 or more kills: Sarah Wilhite had 14, Daly Santana 12, and Hannah Tapp and Adrianna Nora 10 apiece.

Expecting the biggest crowd of the day, no doubt, for the late match in the Rocket Invite, the Rockets unveiled last season’s 2013 Mid-American Conference championship banner before play began.

It didn't help.

The Gophers hit .402 -- remember .300 is good in volleyball as it is in baseball -- for an attack percentage, and held Toledo to .168.

“Minnesota is a great team,” Rockets coach Greg Smith said. “They stay really consistent and force you into doing things you’re not used to doing.

"We hung with them and had some good runs, but they’re such a good team that it puts a lot of pressure on us.”

And four Gophers were pounding away for big points. ... Paige Tapp and Nora blocked a spike for set point in Game 1. Paige Tapp's kill ended Game 2 and Laura Calvori's ace ended the match.

Minnesota, now 9-1, beat Duquesne earlier, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19.

Wilhite had 26 kills in the two matches and hit .355. Santana had 19 kills total.

Next up is IPFW, short for Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. The Mastodons beat Duquesne on Friday night to end a six-match winning streak.

The Gophers should beat 'em to win the tournament.

13 teams fill up tennis field for Gophers Invitational

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers Updated: September 19, 2014 - 3:03 AM

Wanna watch some high level tennis? Indoors or outdoors?

The place to go is the U's main campus. The Gophers, under third-year coach Chuck Merzbacher, will host a 13-team tournament.

Meaning all the available courts inside and outside will be used at times for matches.

Who's there? Five Iowa schools: Drake, Iowa, Iowa St., and Northern Iowa. Two from Wisconsin, the Badgers and UW-Milwaukee. Three from the Dakotas: North Dakota, South Dakota and South Dakota St.

And a couple out of the region: Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Kentucky.

Doubles matches will be played first each day, starting at 9 a.m.

Friday there will be five eight-team doubles draws and each will play down to a winning team. Saturday and Sunday new doubles draws will do the same thing.

In singles, there will be five 16-player draws and one eight-player draw. One round of singles will be played Friday, two Saturday and one Sunday.

OK, it's kinda complex. But I'm sure there will be draws posted somewhere so fans who stop by can figure out who is playing whom, when and where.

Merzbacher seems to have the Gophers going in the right direction in terms of becoming a winner. His first team was 10-5 overall, 3-8 in the Big Ten. Last year the Gophers improved to 17-9 and 6-5. That's the most overall wins and Big Ten wins since 2003.

Who knew?

The Gophers return seven players, including four who had over 20 wins. They are:

* Julia Courter, 25-16 in singles, 24-10 in doubles  ... She was on a doubles team that took third in the top flight of this tournament a year ago. ... Junior from Lawrenceville, Ga.

* Aria Lambert, 24-14 in singles ... Senior from Deephaven. ... Only Minnesotan on Gophers roster.

* Jessika Mozia ... 23-17 in singles ... She won her flight in this tournament a year ago. ... Junior from Littleton, Colo.

* Tereza Brichacova ... 20-16 in singles, 16-18 in doubles ... She played No. 1 singles in 22 spring matches. ... She won her flight in this tournament a year ago. ... Senior from Prague, Czech Republic.

Newcomers are two freshmen, Caroline Ryba from Glenville, Ill., and Mehvish Safdar from Mason, Ohio, and junior Alexandra Bergman, a transfer from UConn.

INTERNATIONAL GAME

On the other 12 teams, there are seven Minnesotans returning home. Here is the short list:

Drake: Summer Brills, North Oaks

Iowa State: Natalie Phippen, Lakeland

North Dakota: Aliza Deming, Afton; Lexi Larson, Long Prairie; Faith Lee, Andover, Lacey Sprinkel, Minneapolis

South Dakota St.: Tacy Haws-Lay, Minneapolis

What's eye-opening is the number of international players in college tennis. There are 51 in this tournament, from 24 different countries.

Countries with more than one player in the Minnesota Invitational:

England 6; Spain 5; Canada 4 (all from Ontario); Brazil, Columbia, Czech Republic, Germany 3.

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Indonesia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine 2. 

Countries with one:

Croatia, El Salvador, France, India, Isreal, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

WATCH WILDCATS

Kentucky is probably the team to watch in this tournament. The Wildcats made the NCAA tournament last spring for the first time since 2009 and reached the Round of 16 before falling 4-1 to Virginia.

They are led by jr. Nadia Ravita, of Jakarta, Indonesia. She lost in the first round of the singles draw in the NCAA tournament. This fall she is ranked No. 41 in singles in the ITA preseason rankings and No. 12 in doubles with partner Aldila Sutjiadi, also from Jakarta.

The Wildcats finished 17-12 overall and 6-9 in the SEC last season.


 

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