Spartans Stopped by No. 4 Penn State
MSU falls in Big Ten home opener in defensive battle, 1-0.
Sept. 29, 2017
In a back and forth defensive battle, the Michigan State field hockey team was stopped by No. 4-ranked Penn State, 1-0, Friday night in Big Ten play at Ralph Young Field.
MSU falls to 6-6 (1-2 Big Ten), while the Nittany Lions improve to 9-2 (3-1).
Redshirt senior back Simone Vagnoni led the Spartans in shots on goal with two on the evening.
Freshman Mairi Fletcher earned the start for the Green and White, before being relieved by senior Katie Miller to start the second half. Fletcher allowed one goal and faced a strong offensively attacking PSU team, tallying 10 saves in the first half.
Miller registered four saves on the day and did not allow a goal.
How it happened:
Penn State scored the lone goal just four minutes into the game. The Nittany Lions spread out in front of the net and slid one by the left pad of the Spartan goalkeeper Fletcher, taking a 1-0 lead.
The Spartans had many scoring opportunities, including one with just 15 seconds remaining; however, they were unable to find the back of the net.
MSU played very strong defensively, recording 14 saves on the night.
Penn State outshot the Spartans, 21-8, including a first half differential of 14-3.
The Green and White registered only one penalty corner in the game compared to 10 for the Nittany Lions.
Junior back Bailey Higgins recorded a defensive save for the Spartans in the first half.
Vagnoni tallied two shots on goal.
Redshirt senior midfielder Kendal Anderson and sophomore forward Kelsey Keener each recorded two shots.
Fletcher had 10 saves in net for the Spartans.
Miller added four saves on the night.
"Tonight was a physical Big Ten battle against a solid Penn State team," said head coach Helen Knull. "We conceded a goal early and that knocked us back a little. I thought at half time we made some necessary adjustments to gain more possession and opportunities, however, we were unable to convert. There were a lot of positives from tonight's game that we need to build on before we welcome Maryland to East Lansing next week."
The Spartans host No. 15 Maryland next Friday at Ralph Young Field in their annual pink game. The game is slated to begin at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN Plus.
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