Clarke, Fletcher Earn SEC Soccer Weeky Awards
BATON ROUGE – After powering LSU’s offensive attack in a 5-3 victory at Arkansas on Friday and a 2-1 double overtime victory at Alabama on Sunday, freshman striker Summer Clarke and freshman midfielder Emma Fletcher have each been honored with weekly awards announced by the Southeastern Conference on Monday morning.
Clarke has been named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career, while Fletcher has defended her title as the SEC Freshman of the Week with her performance.
Clarke scored five of LSU’s eight goals on the weekend, including both game-winning goals in a rare road sweep in SEC play this past weekend. That includes her first career hat trick at Arkansas on Friday night with her goals in the 20th, 60th and 63rd minutes and both goals at Alabama on Sunday afternoon in the 49th minute and 102nd minute in double overtime.
While entering Friday’s match at Arkansas with just three goals in her previous 11 starts on the season, Clarke doubled her goal total by scoring the 20th hat trick in LSU’s history in the 5-3 win. She became the first Tiger to score a hat trick in nearly four years since former All-American Malorie Rutledge scored three goals in a 7-0 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 13, 2009.
A native of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Clarke followed Friday’s performance by scoring both goals in in LSU’s 2-1 double overtime win at Alabama on Sunday afternoon.
Fletcher was there to provide the assists throughout the weekend as she assisted four of Clarke’s five goals in helping to lead the Tigers to a crucial road sweep in SEC play. She tied LSU’s single-game record with three assists on each of Clarke’s goals at Arkansas before serving up the assist on Clarke’s game-winning Golden Goal in the 102nd minute at Alabama.
It proved to be a record setting weekend for Fletcher as she has now set a new LSU freshman record with 10 assists on the year, breaking the previous freshman mark of eight assists set by now senior defender Addie Eggleston during the 2010 season. Fletcher is now the leading assist maker in the SEC scoring charts with 10 assists on the season and six assists in conference play.
This marks the second week in a row that Fletcher has been named the SEC Freshman of the Week for her performance after claiming the award for the first time this season on Sept. 30 of last week.
Their effort helped the Tigers (8-3-2, 4-0-1 SEC) maintain their grip on first place in the SEC standings as they remain the only unbeaten team in conference play with 13 points through five league matches. They lead by just one point over Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas A&M in a tie for second place with 12 points and Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss in a tie for fifth place overall with nine points.
The Tigers have made history as they are now unbeaten in five matches to open SEC play for the first time in program history, besting their previous best start of 4-1 with 12 points in 2009 and 2011. They also own a six-game unbeaten streak with a 5-0-1 mark since a 1-0 shutout at Rice on Sept. 15, and an eight-game unbeaten streak in SEC regular-season matches with a 7-0-1 mark since a 3-2 win at Ole Miss on Oct. 19, 2012.