The University of Minnesota soccer program announced its team awards at its season- ending banquet on Sunday at the McNamara Center. Over 100 family and friends attended the event, which celebrated the team’s most successful season since 1999.
Freshman Lindsey Schwartz was named the team’s Offensive MVP, while fellow rookie Kaitlin Wagner was named MVP of the midfield. A native of Bettendorf, Iowa, Schwartz became just the second freshman since 1995 to lead the team in scoring. She finished with six goals and 17 points. Hailing from Wayzata, Minn., Wagner finished fourth on the team in scoring with two goals and five points. She was also a key component of a Minnesota defense which led the Big Ten with a 0.65 goals-against-average in league games.
Senior Nicki Burnie was named the team’s Defensive MVP after earning second-team All- Big Ten honors. The former walk-on was the leader of a defense that shattered the school record for goals-against-average. Minnesota allowed just 0.84 goals per game this year, as compared to the previous low mark of 1.07 in 1997.
Other recipients included Hailey McCarthy, Nikki Jensen, Jamie Cheever and Molly Schneider. McCarthy was given the Coalminer Award. A defender from Oregon City, Ore., McCarthy has started all 37 games in the past two seasons. A freshman from Richfield, Minn., Jensen was named the team’s Spark Award winner. A key player off the bench, Jensen scored her first career goal in a 2-1 win against Illinois.
A freshman from Minneapolis, Cheever was named the team’s Most Improved Player. Cheever appeared in all 18 matches with 15 starts and became a key member of the Golden Gophers’ record-breaking defense. She will also compete with the Golden Gopher Track and Field team.
A senior from Rochester, Minn., Schneider was given the Rose Grimm Hero Award. This past season, Schneider became only the second Minnesota goalkeeper to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors after breaking the school’s single-season goals-against-average record. After transferring from Wisconsin-Milwaukee prior to the 2004 season, Schneider finished as the school’s all-time leader with a 1.12 career goals-against-average.
Minnesota wrapped up its 2005 season with a 9-8-2 record, including a 6-4-0 Big Ten record. It is the most wins, both overall and conference, since 1999. The Golden Gophers qualified for the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2000.
The Golden Gophers also excelled off the field as they led the Big Ten with an average attendance of 1,119 in league matches. Minnesota shattered the single-season attendance mark with an overall average of 1,081. The Golden Gophers also drew the two largest crowds in school history, highlighted by a record attendance of 1,751 fans for their game against Purdue.