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U opens soccer season with shutout over North Dakota State

The first official sporting event for a U of M team in the 2015-16 season was held Friday.

At Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. That would be the home of Gophers women's soccer.

And the Maroon and Gold looked good, vanquishing North Dakota State 3-0. Shots were 23-3, shots on goal 16-1.

Cocaptain Simone Kolander, a junior, scored in the 25th and 28th minutes for the Gophers for a 2-0 halftime lead. Assists went to Josee Stiver and Haley Helverson.

Sophomore Sydney Squires made it 3-0 in the 50th minute; Stiever got her second assist.

Junior Lauren Miller of the Bison had NDSU's lone shot on goal.

"A 3-0 win is a great way to start the season and this was going to be a tough game for us," Gophers coach Stefanie Golan said. "There are a lot of kids from both teams on Minnesota who know each other and they were coming in to compete."

Keeper Tarah Hobbs got the shutout; senior Sierra Bonham had 13 stops for the visitors -- only two shy of her career high.

The match drew 1,221.

The Gophers play Kansas at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Rob before going on the road the next two weekends.

Kansas, a 15-win team that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season, lost its season opener 3-0 at Nebraska on Friday.

The Cornhuskers took a 2-0 lead in the first 14 minutes; both teams finished with six shots on goal.

"We were obviously very slow to get going at the start of the game," Jayhawks coach Mark Francis said. "Our speed of play was way too slow in the first 15 minutes and we couldn't get into any kind of rhythm.

"After the first 20 minutes though, we settled down and had some opportunities, and (the better play) was all us in the second half. We had eight shots and their keeper had to make some really nice saves. I thought there were some good things that we did, but we need to come out ready to play from the first whistle. We have to learn from today and move forward."

Next up for Kansas are the Gophers.

And oddly enough, those opponents have played two of the same teams.

Kansas, in exhibition games on its home field, Rock Chalk Park, beat Drake 5-0 on Aug. 12 and tied with North Dakota State 2-2 on Aug. 16.

The Gophers beat Drake 8-0 in their only exhibition game. 

U's Toledo faces tough challenge in NCAA tennis tournament

Leandro Toledo's tennis career at Minnesota will come to an end this week -- and it's been quite a ride for him.

The senior from Hamburg, Germany, has 97 wins, tied for ninth in program history. And he was recently amed the Big Ten's Player of the Year.

He is ranked No. 22 nationally, but has a tough opening match at Baylor in Waco, Texas. At 2:30 p.m. he will play senior Denis Nguyen of Harvard who has beaten him twice, 6-3, 7-5 on Nov. 7 amd 6-2, 6-4 on Feb. 21. Nguyen, of Anaheim, advanced to the NCAA semifinals a year ago. Toledo to the Round of 16.

Both lost to Alex Sarkissian of Peperdine a year ago. Toldedo by a score of 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Nguyen is ranked No. 34 and is 18-13. Toldeo is 19-8 this spring and led the Gophers to a three-way tie for the Big Ten regular-season title with a 10-1 mark.

Toledo also won the International Tennis Association's most improved tennis player award among seniors in the Central Region.

He's the Gophers' first four-time all-conference pick and last year, with his NCAA finish, became Minnesota's first All-America player since 2002.

He is 19-8 this spring at No. 1 singles.

Nguyen led Harvard to the ECAC title this spring.

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