D1 Minnesotans Season Kickoff: Gophers roll non conference foes, Drake's MN trio stands out, UNI's undefeated start, the first Tommie Hat Trick, Jessie Hunt's assists and more!
The College Soccer season has begun and that means it's time to track every Minnesotan Woman playing D1 across the country! The goal of our "D1 Minnesotans" coverage is to track stats throughout the year, highlight the Minnesotans standing out at the D1 level, and give you easy games to watch each week. As always, we appreciate our patreons and readers sending in players we have missed! As if now we have 119 players in our tracker. If you see a player (or coach) missing in the stat tracker below, submit the player to us in this google form (https://forms.gle/ZcpJqKcdY2nJ74A4A) and we'll make sure to include them! Just like in previous years, we've already got pockets of Minnesotans starring across the country. Northern Iowa is being paced by Lauren Heinsch and Olivia Knoepfle (pictured above) along with 3 other Loon Staters. The Gophers have rolled their first non conference opponents and Drake has restocked their MN contingent with a First Year Angela Gutierrez who had a game winner over Green Bay in her second college game.
Minnesotans Heinsch, Knoepfle, Barnette, Bohl and Nyblom power UNI Panthers to 3-0 start
Northern Iowa has 5 Minnesotans on their roster of 29 but they pack a punch. First year Forward Morgan Barnette (Maple Grove) scored the game winner in her first ever college game at St Thomas, while Lauren Heinsch (Mahtomedi) keeps reminding us why she’s started all of the 51 college games she’s played, scoring 3 goals in her first 3 games of the year. Meanwhile another first year, defender Olivia Bohl (Rosemount) has played 225 minutes in her first 3 games, a statement by her coaches that she’s a player to be trusted. Olivia Knoepfle (Andover) also has 2 assists after playing a decent amount in her Redshirt Freshman season last year, and Jenna Nyblom (Lakeville) saw time in the first weekend of games as well. The road to Panther glory may be via Minnesota this year.
Freshman Angela Gutierrez stands out alongside Brooke Davies and Delaney Goertzen early for Drake
In terms of starting your College Soccer career off right, it couldn’t have gone much better for Oakdale’s Angela Gutierrez. Gutierrez had an assist in the opener against Wisconsin-Parkside, and more impressively, scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Green Bay, which earned her Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Week. Junior Defender Brooke Davies (Shakopee) played sparingly as a Freshman, but started 17 games last year and looks to have her spot back in the lineup. Delaney Goertzen (Woodbury) is a grad student now and has had ups (mostly) and downs at Drake, playing 47 games and over 3000 minutes before a season ending injury last year. The Minnesotan trio will have a role to play in helping Drake take the next step in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.
Gophers take it to non conference foes
In the last few seasons, the Gophers may have had issues scoring goals. With 9 goals in their first two games, you'd hope to see that trend change this year. Minnesota had probably their 2 lightest non conference opponents to start the year and they took advantage of that with a 5-1 win over Niagara and a 4-0 win over New Hampshire at ELR. Tons of Minnesotans played a role but you could easily spotlight Sophia Boman (Edina), a consistent goal contributor who has 2 goals and 2 assists in 2 games. Credit to First Year Forward Paige Kalal (Brooklyn Park) who has played 87 minutes and snagged an assist in the win over New Hampshire. The Gophers travel to UW-Milwaukee tonight at 7pm. We will stream the game at the Blackhart Bar in St Paul! You can watch it on ESPN+ on your devices.
Mariah Nguyen bags the first Tommie hat trick en route to 7-0 romp of Niagara, named Offensive Player of the Week
After this weekend, we’ll see if Niagara makes a trip to Minnesota anytime soon. The Gophers started the weekend with a 5-1 win, and the "New Kids on the Block" St Thomas went 2 further, scoring a 7-0 victory. Right at the center was Mariah Nguyen, who had the first Division 1 hat trick in St Thomas history. For her efforts (along with 20+ Minnesotan teammates) she was named (respecting branding) "TicketSmarter Summit League Offensive Peak Performer of the Week"! Nguyen continues to grow her game from her First Year at Bemidji State, to the summers with Aurora. St Thomas travels to Portland State for a tough non conference game on ESPN+ Friday afternoon at 3 (see more details below!)
Ava Bjorkman Tracy takes MN Aurora FC momentum into a great opening weekend for UNC Ashville
Ava Bjorkman Tracy had already played in over 30 college games before this season started at UNC Ashville, but not all Minnesotans tune in to the Big South to see that. Summer League followers in Minnesota may remember Ava started this summer as a training player for MN Aurora FC before earning an unprecedented callup to the full squad late in the season. Call it momentum from a good summer, or just continued growth, but Ava started her Junior season wasting no time, scoring a game winning assist in a 1-0 win at VMI. Bjorkman Tracy is one of the easiest players to track as nearly all of Ashville's games are on ESPN+. They play Davidson tonight at 4pm.
Jessie Hunt keeps dropping dimes at Northeastern
After leading the nation in assists for part of last year, ending up with 13 on the season (a program record), Jessie Hunt is back dropping dimes. Northeastern faced a tough Non Conference opponent in Xavier in their opener and took a 0-2 loss. But in their second game of the year, Hunt had 2 assists to power Northeastern to a 3-1 win at Holy Cross. Hunt, who originally played for two years at Wisconsin, has made a name for herself in the Northeast and will look to lead the Huskies to the NCAA Tourney this year. Northeastern are a bit tougher to stream, but you can pay for Flo FC to watch theirs and other mid major games from other conferences. You may hear more from Jessie Hunt on Equal Time soon!
Games to Watch This Week
With 119 (and counting) Minnesotans playing D1 soccer, how can we possibly keep track? One way is our "Games to Watch" feature! There are plenty of free or easily accessibly games to catch each week. ESPN+ will be your friend and is worth the price (especially considering the other soccer and sports they own). Summit League games, where the most Minnesotans play, have moved to the Summit League Network, which you access via the Midco Sports App. With the amount of Minnesotans playing in the Summit League, it should be worth your while as well. We will periodically host watch parties at the Blackhart Bar for Gopher away games or other matchups with Minnesotans, stay tuned to our social to be in the loop!
Thursday, August 24
Minnesota at UW-Milwaukee
SDSU at Drake
Friday, August 25
St Thomas at Portland State
Sunday, August 27
NDSU at Drake
South Dakota St vs Iowa State
Stream: Summit League Network (Midco Sports App)
Tuesday, August 29
Northern Iowa vs St Ambrose
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