Park Ridge, Ill. - University of Minnesota Soccer junior forward Katie Bethke was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week today (Oct. 5), announced by the league office.
The Eau Claire, Wis. native posted numbers unseen in the Big Ten this season. All told, by weeks end Bethke had racked up 12 points, five goals, and had a hand each of the Golden Gophers' game-winners as she led them to an unblemished 2-0 mark for the week.
Bethke's exploits began on Thursday, Oct. 1 on the road at Wisconsin. With the Gophers and Badgers tied at 1-1 in overtime, a late penalty was called on Wisconsin, awarding a penalty kick to Minnesota. Bethke was called on to take the kick and proved she was up to the challenge, knocking in her third game-winner of the season. Bethke's kick propelled the Gophers' to the 2-1 win, handing Wisconsin their first home loss of the season.
Three days later the Gophers we're back home to host South Dakota (Oct. 4). Already posting the first two-goal game of her career earlier this season, Bethke went another step higher with a school record tying four-goal performance against the Coyotes. She began the match with two assists, on the game's first two goals, also tying a career high.
The scoring started with a goal in the first half, followed by three in a row in the second half. Her four goals and two assists in the game each stand as the best single-game performances in the Big Ten this season, as well as tie school records. She becomes just the second player in Gopher history to score four-goals in a match, and the first since the 1996 season.
Included in her totals of 12-points, five goals, and two assists, was a perfect shooting day against South Dakota, as all four of her goals found the net. The two assists marked a career high, as the Gophers extended their unbeaten streak to six games. Minnesota also improves to 7-0-0 when Bethke scores a goal and 8-0-1 when she tallies a point.
With 11 goals and 26 points now on the season, she is the Big Ten leader in each category, and has assembled the highest scoring season in maroon and gold since 1999.
Bethke and the Golden Gophers' return to action with one match this weekend, as they travel to Purdue for a 1:00 p.m. match on Oct. 11.
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