After a stellar regular season that saw the Golden Gopher women’s soccer team post a 9-8-1 overall record (5-5-0 in the Big Ten) four Golden Gophers were honored with postseason Big Ten awards Wednesday, the conference office announced. Midfielder Kelsey Hood took home All-Big Ten Second Team honors, while first-years Katie Bethke and Molly Rouse were name to the All-Big Ten Freshman team. Senior Sara Johnson was awarded the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, given to individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
A junior out of Ankeny, Iowa, Hood’s All-Big Ten Second Team award was her second in as many years. She scored one goal this season while taking 21 shots, and is widely considered to be one of the conference’s most steady and dependable midfielders. Hood has played in all 55 of the Gophers’ matches during her three-year career and has served as a team captain for the last two seasons.
Bethke, a freshman out of Eau Claire, Wisc., emerged as one of the conference’s most dangerous attacking players in 2007. She led the Big Ten Conference and ranked 19th nationally with nine assists, the highest single-season total for a Minnesota player since 1999 and the sixth-most in Gopher history. Bethke also tallied five goals and finished second on the team with 19 total points. She led Big Ten freshmen in assists, goals and points.
Rouse started the Gophers’ final nine conference matches and 11 overall, seeing significant minutes in all 18 of Minnesota’s contests. She finished fourth on the team with two goals and third with three assists, totaling seven points in 18 matches. A native of Cambridge, Minn., Rouse’s energy and athleticism contributed greatly to the Gophers’ improved attack in 2007.
The Gophers’ two All-Big Ten Freshman honorees was their most since 2005, when Hood and current starting midfielder Clare Grimwood were also chosen for the award.
Johnson, a fourth-year player out of Maplewood, Minn., was one of Minnesota’s most energetic and enthusiastic bench players in 2007. A two-time letterwinner, Johnson played in three matches this season.
Minnesota will look to cap a solid regular season with a deep postseason run, beginning Thursday night against Illinois. The sixth-seeded Golden Gophers will take on third-seeded Illinois (11-5-2, 6-3-1 Big Ten) in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament at St. Paul’s Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Kick-off is set for 8 p.m.