Oct. 11, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State defeated No. 16 Michigan 3-2 in a thrilling double- overtime victory on Friday afternoon. 70 minutes was not enough to decide the outcome between the in-state rivals, and Abby Barker put home the game-winning goal and Jenni Smith scored twice in regulation to improve MSU's record to 3-0 in Big Ten play. Michigan State is now 6-7 on the year while Michigan drops to 7-6 (1-2).
The Wolverines generated most of the scoring opportunities in the first half by out shooting MSU 9-1, but the Spartan defense held strong, led by Molly Cassidy's seven first half saves. With the score tied at 0-0 and about to head into the break, Michigan State drew a penalty corner with seven seconds remaining in the half. Jenni Smith who capitalized on the opportunity and put home her first goal of the season, giving MSU a 1-0 lead at the break.
Michigan got an equalizing tally quickly after the intermission to tie it up (in the 41st minute), Michigan State scored on an identical play, with a goal on a penalty corner from Smith assisted by Alli Helwig and Katherine Jamieson.
"I'm excited for Jenni," said head coach Helen Knull. "We've been working on corner options, and for her to get goals is great for her and really propelled her game. I expect that to carry with her the rest of the season."
Just when it looked like the clock might run out with Michigan State
on top, Michigan scored in the 60th minute, tying the game at 2-2.
Fatigue set in a bit for both sides over the remainder of the game, and the teams went scoreless for the next 32 minutes of play. 7:32 into the second overtime, Allie Ahern sent a long pass up the left sideline to a streaking Barker. Barker dribbled uncontested into the circle and ripped a shot passed Michigan goalie Haley Jones for the game-winner that sent the Spartan sideline into an uproar.
"We had great fan support today," said Knull. "I think it propels and fuels them when they're tired and got us digging a lot deeper. Today we did a good job in overtime to keep moving and creating pockets for players to move into, and that is ultimately where our goal came from. Abby was clutch and came up and finished for us."
Today's win was the first for MSU over Michigan in three years, and the first time the Spartans have started 3-0 in the Big Ten since 2009.
"Today was a lot about the heart of this team," said Smith. "Michigan is a huge game and this game really meant something to us. It was special since we?ve never beaten Michigan in my time here."
"Right now, we're at our peak with confidence," said Barker. "Beating a ranked Big Ten opponent feels great. I think it will give us more confidence and the motivation to come out and work really hard this week in practice."
Molly Cassidy tied her season high with eight saves in the game.
Michigan State returns to action at 1 p.m. on Sunday to take on Ball State at Ralph Young Field.