Oct. 14, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich.-The Michigan State field hockey team (7-9, 1-3 Big Ten) picked up its first conference win at home in an exciting fashion, dropping No. 17 Ohio State in a match that went into penalty strokes. In the 2-1 victory, goaltender Molly Cassidy notched 14 saves, tying her career high. Freshman forward Allie Ahern scored the lone regulation goal for the Spartans, as well as the game-winning penalty stroke.
"Today was an example of what we talked about all year with small details," said head coach Helen Knull. "We put the details and inches together, and they fought the entire game. They didn't give up. Today we put it together."
During a scoreless first half, Ohio State held the advantage on offense, outshooting the Spartans, 6-1. The Buckeyes also had six corners to Michigan State's one, but the Spartan defense was able to keep OSU from scoring. The Spartans' only scoring opportunity of the first half came at 28:04 when they were awarded a corner, but freshman back Alli Helwig's attempt was saved by Ally Tunitis.
The tandem of Ahern and sophomore forward Katherine Jamieson created a spark on offense in the second half during a give-and-go play, which resulted in a Michigan State corner. Ahern's shot off the corner was saved, but gave the Spartans momentum on offense.
Ahern would capitalize on that momentum when MSU was awarded a penalty corner four minutes later. Jamieson inserted the ball to Ahern, who dribbled to the right side of the circle and fired off a shot to give MSU the 1-0 advantage. It was the freshman's fourth goal of the season.
Ohio State wasted no time evening up the score, tallying a goal off of their corner play at 43:40. Laura Napolitano was credited with the goal. The Spartan defense kept up the battle in the second half, stopping the Buckeyes on three consecutive corners.
Michigan State had an opportunity to end the game when they were awarded a penalty corner with 12 seconds remaining in regulation. Ahern's shot was saved, then picked up by freshman Becky Stiles. Stiles' shot was knocked out of the goal and out of bounds by Nora Murer, forcing the game into overtime.
During the first overtime period, Cassidy came up with just one of her many impressive saves of the game, diving to deflect a shot out of bounds and keeping Ohio State out of the cage. At 90:47, OSU's Berta Queralt was given a yellow card, which gave Michigan State a one-man advantage for five minutes. The Spartans were unable to break the deadlock, which sent the game into double overtime.
Neither team could get on the board in the second overtime, which meant it was time for penalty strokes. Ohio State shot first, but Cassidy denied Jenn Scuilli's attempt. Junior midfielder Adelle Lever scored the first MSU penalty stroke, knocking the ball off the right post and into the cage. Paula Pastor-Pitarque scored on her attempt, which was followed by a goal from MSU's Jessica Lindner. Next for Ohio State was Kaitlyn Wagner, who also was able score. After Abby Barker's shot hit off the left post and went wide of the cage, Cassidy came up with another huge save on Queralt's stroke. Ahern was the last shooter for the Spartans, and the forward was able to secure MSU's victory.
The Buckeyes outshot the Spartans 21- 13 and held the advantage in penalty corners 15-8.
The Spartans are back in action next weekend when they host in-state rival Michigan. The match begins at 4 p.m. and will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The two Spartan seniors, Angie Lucik and Holly Sherman, will also be honored prior to the start of the match.