Eden Betzler stopped all seven shots against Big Lake on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Then, when the buzzer sounded, hugged all of her teammates.
It was the senior’s third shutout this season and the 41st of her career, a new Minnesota state record.
“It feels great,” Betzler said after the game. “We’re a small school and we have a state record. And I say ‘we’ because this was a team effort. We did this, everyone on every team I have played with.”
According to Minnesota State High School League soccer records, Betzler passed Taylor Lock, former Lakeville North goalie, for the career shutouts mark as her teammates banded together, making life relatively easy for the four-year goalie. With about 10 minutes remaining, Midfielder Sam Donnay was emphasizing the Tigers need to suffocate the Big Lake offense and make sure Eden’s first opportunity for record, on senior night, would be fruitful.
Betzler’s first save was probably her toughest, catching an open shot from about 15 yards out on a tough left-hand angle with 1:13 remaining in the first half. She also punched away a dangerous corner kick in the final minutes of the 3-0 victory, otherwise, the defense kept the Hornets at bay and the offense powered towards Big Lake’s goalie with consistency, including goals by Kara Schramel, Anna Jungroth and Ashley Tibbets.
The emotional record-breaking moment was already in the making more than a decade prior as Pat Arens slotted Betzler as the net-minder in kindergarten.
“In the years when she was first starting she would just knock people over, so we can’t have that, so we had to find a different fit for her,” Arens said.
Eden embraced the switch, bringing physicality to the goalie position and success was forming as she honed, what have been, to her, the most important attributes to goalkeeping: success, focus, and strong instincts, while playing with great teammates.
By freshman year, her skills were polished enough to warrant full-time play on varsity. She played all 16 regular season games and tallied 11 shutouts, 10 in the last 13. She added another during section play for the first state-bound team in program history. Not to mention she had already surpassed Princeton’s career saves record which was 125. She had 148 that season.
Fourteen more shutouts were earned as a sophomore, including three in sections and one during a 1-0 state tournament victory. Then the career record came into view.
“We looked at the record my junior and were thought that we could do this,” Betzler.
Betzler remained steady with 11 more shutouts in 2016, placing her third all-time with an entire year of eligibility left, but she began her senior season on the bench after an injury as Sydney Eckert picked up the slack.
“I wasn’t worried [about the record], Betzler said, “I knew I was really close so we wouldn’t need many games.”
Betzler returned on Sep. 14 and recorded three shutouts in eight games before the record-breaker.
She now has 582 career saves, including eight in a 3-2 win over Monticello on Thursday, Oct. 5 to finish the regular season and by playoffs end, Betzler could blow away the shutout mark and hold onto it for a long time. Sections begin Thursday, Oct. 12, and the team plans to make another deep run after a heartbreaking loss in the finals last year. This will give ample opportunity to add to the 41-shutout total while, according to MSHSL records, no other active goaltender has at least 27 shutouts.