The Gophers women’s soccer players are coming off a month they’d like to forget. Minnesota closed out its season with an 0-4-1 finish, its last victory coming on Oct. 11 in Iowa.

That winless streak will matter little come Friday evening, when the Gophers try to start a winning streak at the best possible time: the NCAA tournament. Minnesota’s first-round match in the 64-team field is Friday against South Dakota State at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on the St. Paul side of campus.

[Friday morning update: The Gophers-Jackrabbits game this evening will be livestreamed online at this link:]

The Gophers finished regular season with a 11-6-3 overall record, 6-4-1 in Big Ten play. Their last three matches weren’t pretty, losing by a combined score of 10-3. SDSU’s finish was the exact opposite: The Jackrabbits closed a 12-5-3 season by winning the Summit League championship with a 3-0 shutout against top-seeded North Dakota State.

“I felt pretty good that we were going to be in the tournament,” Gophers coach Stefanie Golan said in a statement, “but I did not expect to host the first round game, so we couldn’t be more excited.”

The Gophers are making their ninth tournament appearance. These two teams met in the 2008 NCAA tournament, with the Gophers winning 2-0 in the second round in St. Paul. A Gophers victory would set them up for a second-round match on Nov. 20 against the winner of California and Loyola Marymount.

Staff reports