Minneapolis - The University of Minnesota soccer team held their annual end of the year banquet recently, handing out their 2009 team awards.
It was a day to honor greatness for a team that won 12 games and finished 5-3-2 in conference play, posting their first back-to-back winning seasons in the Big Ten of the decade. In all, eight awards were handed out, including Most Valuable Players on defense, offense and in the midfield, the Teammate Award, the 12th Gopher Award, the Most Improved and Newcomer Awards, and the Ironwoman Award.
Up front for the Gophers, leading scorer Katie Bethke (Eau Claire, Wis.) was named Offensive MVP, leading the team with 11 goals, seven assists and 29 points. The 2007 Newcomer of the year was the catalyst on offense in her junior season, and the Gophers were 7-0 in 2009 when Bethke scored and 10-0-2 when she tallied a point.
In the back, Josie Solie (Mahtomedi, Minn.) earned Defensive MVP accolades as she and the Gopher backline allowed just 73 shots on goal, and pitched 10 shutouts in their 20 games. The sophomore started for the first career time in the opener, and played every minute of every game throughout the season. The marks put up by Solie and the defense are some of the best in team history, including those 10 shutouts which rank third all-time, and their goals against average of 0.67 which is second only to the record 0.45 from a season ago.
Making plays and setting up the offense all season long, Molly Rouse (Cambridge, Minn.) was named Midfield MVP. The team's Most Improved player as a freshman in 2007, Rouse finished second on the team in both goals and points with five and 12 respectively as a junior. Her three game-winning goals tied for the team lead while her 50 shots and 23 shots on goal were also among the team leaders.
Coming off the bench, the 12th Gopher Award went to junior Katie Shelander (Roseville, Minn.). A spark and jump start for the team off the bench, Shelander finished the season among the team assist leaders after her record performance against South Dakota. There, she put three helpers on the board, to tie the program record.
Angie Olson (Eagan, Minn.) started every game she played in this past season, scoring her first career goal in the season opener, before finishing with three along with two assists for eight points. Following her breakout junior campaign, Olson was named the team's Most Improved Player.
In her first season of college soccer, Olivia Bagnall (Lakeville, Minn.) started 19 games, while playing in all 20 to earned Newcomer Award. A defensive midfielder, she was part for the stout Gopher backline, but also found time to knock in three goals. A starter in the season opener, she became the first true freshman in two years to start an opener for the Gophers.
In her final season, Sara Clancy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) earned the Teammate Award. Clancy also won the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award this season, and closed her career as a Gopher with two goals in her senior season, including one game-winner.
Finally, the Ironwoman Award was given to Kylie Kallman (Woodbury, Minn.), who takes home the honor for the second straight year. Kallman was also named Defensive MVP as a freshman in 2007, making it three straight years with hardware for the defender. Kallman started and played in 19 games on the season, playing every minute of each game. A team leader on and off the field, Kallman has started all 64 games she has played in her career.
The Golden Gophers graduate two seniors in Clancy and Dana Tripp (White Bear Lake, Minn.) but return 16 players from a team that finished the season with a 12-5-3 record and a 5-3-2 mark to finish in fourth place in the Big Ten.
2009 Golden Gopher Soccer Team Awards
Teammate Award, Sara Clancy
12th Gopher Award, Katie Shelander
Most Improved Player, Angie Olson
Newcomer Award, Olivia Bagnall
Defensive MVP, Josie Solie
Midfield MVP, Molly Rouse
Offensive MVP, Katie Bethke
Ironwoman Award, Kylie Kallman