Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference announced their soccer all-conference team today (Nov. 11) and the Golden Gophers were led by Jennie Clark who was named a first team defender for the second straight season.
Four total Golden Gophers made their way to the All-Big Team to join Clark. Katie Bethke and Molly Rouse were named to the second team at forward and midfield respectively, while Cat Parkhill was selected to the All-Freshman team as a goalkeeper. Additionally, Sara Clancy was honored as a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Recipient.
In earning First Team All-Big Ten accolades for the second consecutive season, Clark becomes the first Golden Gopher to do so since 1997 when Jennifer McElmury capped off four consecutive seasons on the first team. Clark was the pacesetter for a defense that pitched 10 shutouts and allowed a mere 14 goals in 20 games. The 10 shutouts are tied for the third best single season in Gopher history, and reside behind the record 17 from last season as the second best mark of the decade. The Norwalk, Iowa native has now started 62 straight matches heading into her final season and has been a starter in the last 34 Minnesota shutouts. She was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week this season, as she led the Gophers to a win and shutout over then No. 9 Purdue. It was the first time Purdue was held without a goal on the season and the second time Clark earned player of the week honors.
Up top for the Golden Gophers, Katie Bethke had a career season, pacing the team in goals assists, points, and shots. A starter in 59 career matches, she was at her best this season. The Eau Claire, Wis. native ended the year with 11 goals and seven assists for 29 points as well as 65 shots. Her goal, point and shot totals all represent career highs, and are some of the best marks in recent memory. Her 29 points are the most since 1998 while her 11 goals stand as the most since 2002. Her performance against South Dakota stands as one of the best in Gopher history as she tabbed 10 points on four goals and two assists. That, along with her game-winner goal the night before, earned her Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career.
Joining Bethke on the second team is Rouse, who earns All-Big Ten honors for the first career time. A native of Cambridge, Minn., she ended the season as the Golden Gophers second leading scorer with 12 points on five goals and two assists. In addition, three of her goals went for game-winners, which tied Bethke for the team lead. Rouse is the only member of the Gophers to appear in every match the last three seasons and has started 56 straight. She scored the game-winner in the season ending 1-0 win over Indiana, giving her a career high five on the season as well as five career game-winning goals, leaving her just off the top-10 list in team history. On the way to her career high mark for goals, she tabbed her first career multi-goal game this season with two in the 4-0 win over North Dakota State on Sept. 6.
With her honor, Parkhill extends the Gophers run of Freshman All-Big Ten Team members to five straight years. This season the Apple Valley, Minn, native posted the best season ever for a freshman goalkeeper, and one of the best overall for a keeper in team history. Her 0.70 goals against average is the second best in team history, behind only the record 0.45 last season. Parkhill's 14 goals allowed is also the second best in team history while her nine shutouts are fourth.
Clancy earns the Sportsmanship award as she has distinguished herself through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native has also demonstrated good citizenship off the soccer field and has maintained a 3.72 grade point average. On the field in her senior campaign, Clancy knocked in two goals, including one game-winner, and was the only player with 1.000 shot on goal percentage landing all of her shots on goal. Off the field Clancy volunteered her time and services to a multitude of organizations including the YMCA and Hope Kids. She has spent time reading to elementary school children and helped organize Feed My Starving Children. This spring she will graduate with a degree in Foundations of Education: Elementary Education.
Led by Clark and Parkhill the Golden Gopher defense finished near the top of the Big Ten in nearly every category. At the conclusion of the conference season, Minnesota was tied for second with just eight goals allowed and alone in second with a 0.75 goals against average. Their four shutouts in 10 conference games ranks in third while Parkhill ranks second in shutouts individually.
Up top, Rouse and Bethke led an attack that also finished among the best in the Big Ten. With 148 total shots in conference play, the Gophers finish the season third, while Rouse was third individually with 32 shots of her own. Rouse's three goals in league games was good enough for seventh in the conference while Bethke's four assists were fourth. When looking at the whole season, Bethke finished third in shots with 65 and third in points with her 29. Collectively the Gophers ranked second in all games with 334 shots and fourth in goals with 36.
The last game for Golden Gopher Soccer was on Friday, Nov. 6, in the form of a 1-0 win over Indiana, however the season was effectively ended three days later when the Gophers were left out of the 64-team NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers finished the season with a 12-5-3 record and a 5-3-2 mark to finish in fourth place in the Big Ten.
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