Published: August 21, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Toledo will commence its 2013 regular season this weekend facing Minnesota on Friday, Aug. 23 and Belmont two days later at the Gopher Tournament in Minneapolis. The Rockets’ season-opening match against the Big Ten member and host Golden Gophers will start at 7:00 p.m. (CT), while their contest versus the Ohio Valley Conference participant Bruins is slated for 11:00 a.m. (CT) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
UT will begin its year against a Big Ten opponent for a third consecutive season after tangling with Purdue each of the last two seasons. Toledo is an impressive 11-5-2 (.667) all-time in season-opening matches in the program’s history, including 7-3-2 (.667) under 13th-year head coach Brad Evans.
The Rockets head into this weekend’s action on the heels of a 2-1 setback at Detroit on Friday. UT allowed a pair of second-half goals to drop their lone exhibition contest of the season.
Senior Rachel MacLeod was credited with Toledo’s goal against the Titans by successfully converting a penalty kick at the 20:21 mark in the first stanza.
UDM finished the exhibition match with a slight 10-9 advantage in shots and a 4-3 edge in corner kicks. Freshman Kiersten Johnson paced the four-time Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Rockets with a contest-tying best three shots.
In between the posts, sophomore Sam Tiongson and senior Kelsey Borowitz split time and were each credited with three saves.
Toledo returns seven of its top 10 scorers from last year’s team that posted a 7-12-2 overall mark, including a 5-5-1 MAC record. UT finished fourth in the MAC West Division and made its eighth-consecutive postseason appearance. The Rockets also advanced to the MAC Tournament Semifinals for a league-record seventh-consecutive season after outlasting Eastern Michigan, 2-1, on penalty kicks.
The Midnight Blue & Gold will face a Minnesota team that finished with an 11-7-2 record under head coach Stefanie Golan in 2012, including 6-4-1 in the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers registered a 3-2 victory against Green Bay in their lone exhibition contest last Friday. They are paced by the junior duo of Katie Thyken (7 goals, 6 assists) and Taylor Wodnick (4 goals, 4 assists) with 20 and 12 points a season ago, respectively. Toledo and Minnesota will do battle for a second time in the last four seasons on the pitch, as the teams played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw at Scott Park in 2010.
Belmont also opens its regular season this weekend and is coming off an 8-9-2 overall mark under head coach Heather Henson in 2012, including a 4-4-2 tally in the OVC. The Bruins split a pair of exhibition contests last week, defeating Middle Tennessee, 1-0, and losing to Samford, 1-0. They are led by senior Katie Proud (3 goals) and junior Taylor Smith (two goals, one assist) with six and five points a year ago, respectively. They also return senior goalie Nicole Berner, who started every match and played all but 17-plus minutes in between the posts last fall. The Rockets and Bruins will square off for a second-straight season, with BU claiming a 2-1 triumph last fall in the Glass City.
Following this weekend’s tournament action, Toledo will travel to Horizon League member Youngstown State on Friday, Aug. 30, before entertaining Southeastern Conference participant Kentucky on Sunday, Sept. 1 in its home opener. The Rockets’ match against the Penguins will start at 4:00 p.m. at Farmers National Bank Field, while the home opener versus the Wildcats will kick off at 1:00 p.m. at Scott Park.