How’s this for a winter sports season? The Gopher Men’s Basketball team has an NCAA tournament berth, the Gopher Men’s Hockey team has another B1G regular season title, and the Gopher Women’s Hockey team is back in the Frozen Four and looking for their third straight national title. Oh, you’re not satisfied? You want to see it done in the spring too to be won over by Gopher athletics? Well perhaps more impressive than those accomplishments is the Gopher Softball team and their program record 19 straight wins to start the 2017 season, a streak that finally came to an end this past weekend with two losses to No. 6 Washington. Despite those losses, the Gophers still check in at No. 8 in the USA Today national poll, and one of their do-it-all studs joins us this week, as 2016 All-Region honoree Maddie Houlihan stops by in the middle of the Gophers hot start to the year.
Time has just flown by, and if you’ve been looking down at your Gopher Softball program for too long, when you raised your eyes back to the world you couldn’t believe what you were seeing: Sara Groenewegen, a senior!??! That’s right, the British Columbia native’s time on campus is nearly over, but it’s not without fanfare and acclaim. Sara won B1G Freshman, Pitcher, and Player of the Year over her first two seasons on campus, one of just three women in conference history to claim all three awards, and she did it in just half of a career! Last year Sara’s dominance continued, as she won 31 games for the Gophers in the circle, second most in program history for a single season. This year she is off to another good start, and she joins us to talk about the 2017 edition of the Maroon and Gold and her international aspirations after her career in Dinkytown is complete.
While some student-athletes spend their summers on the lake, on vacation, or on their rear ends, Gopher Softball’s Erika Rozell spent her’s saving lives. In this tremendous story of the Gopher junior and her feline compassion that even Matt Nelson’s bad cat jokes can’t ruin, Erika joins this week to tell us about how she took being a cat person to a whole new level after coming across a stray at TCF Bank Stadium.
It’s been seven long days since Gopher Sports Update left you with the ultimate cliffhanger, revealing the lower half of the top 10 moments of the 2015-16 athletics season, but making you wait an entire week to find out the best moments of the year that was in Gopher athletics. Well, if you haven’t rebelled and deleted gophersportsupdate.com from your favorites, we welcome you back for one of the most anticipated shows of the year, where GSU reveals the most prolific accomplishment on campus this year across the sports landscape. Hint: a picture is worth what’s approaching a thousand national titles.
We round out our Season of Giving miniseries with another story of Gopher Softball and their tireless efforts in the community. Last week, we detailed pitcher Nikki Anderson’s work with Kealy Johnson, a young lady that plays softball herself, attends the same high school Nikki did in Brainerd, and is now cancer-free. This week, we chat with Paige Palkovich, who tells us about Gopher teammate Maisy Martindale, a seven-year-old that has endured over 30 surgeries in her short life, but has never stopped smiling along the way.
With great power comes great responsibility, and being the only school in the state of Minnesota in which all sports compete at the Division I level, that responsibility is never lost on the Gophers. Never has that been more true than with Gopher Softball, their most generous and inclusive season coming at the most important time of year. But as we look closer at what the Gophers have done away from the diamond, we see that their generosity and humanitarian spirit isn’t limited to the holidays, it’s a 365 day per year venture. In the first half of our “Season of Giving” series, we chat with Gopher senior pitcher Nikki Anderson, who introduces us to a very special and resilient young lady, Kealy Johnson.
You may say, Taylor Lemay? What is this, a repeat? Well, just remember, Gopher Sports Update doesn’t do repeats, weeks off, or soft guests. This week, we welcome back one of our favorites for the second time since the new year, as the Gopher softball catcher and Minnesota Wild super fan joins us to chat about a postseason push on the diamond, and the ice.
The Gopher Softball team kicks off its season Feb. 6, boasting their highest preseason rank in program history. To preview the 2015 campaign, catcher Taylor Lemay checks in just 48 hours ahead of the season’s first pitch for the No. 15 Gophers, as they open their journey to the College World Series against No. 11 Washington Friday.
One of the best pitchers in Gopher Softball history joins Gopher Sports Update this week to talk to the guys about how she has parlayed her college career into a professional gig with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch.