Nov. 8, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 3 Michigan State defeated No. 7 Ohio State, 2-1 in double overtime in Friday afternoon's semi-final game to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Allie Ahern came through in the clutch for the Spartans, as she put home the game-winning goal in double overtime to help the Spartans to their 11th win of the season and reach their first Big Ten Tournament Championship game since 2009. The Spartans will play fifth-seed Iowa for the tournament title on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m.
"It is really simple for us at the moment," said head coach Helen Knull. "We are not looking at the outcome or win, but more the process involved. We are finding ways to refocus back into the game plan when things aren?t going our way or we are not playing great hockey. When the game is on the line, they are not freaking out, but rather going back to the basics and working through to get the result we are looking for."
After a scoreless first half, Michigan State struck first on Katherine Jamieson's seventh goal of the season in the 41st minute of the game. Jenni Smith picked up her team-leading 10th assist of the season on the penalty corner that led to the Jamieson goal.
Ohio State scored the equalizer in the 51st minute, tying the game at 1-1 where it would remain for the next 41 minutes of game play.
Michigan State came out firing in the extra period, getting off 10 shots and creating a majority of the scoring opportunities. Ohio State goalkeeper Sarah Lemieux made five of her eight saves in the first overtime period to hold off a barrage of MSU shots that included a ball of the post and a ball of the cross bar.
"Today, the girls were persistent and relentless in overtime and believed the ball was going to go in for us," said Knull.
And eventually it did, as Michigan State broke through during the second overtime period after a pass from Kristen Henn found Allie Ahern. She took a great first touch and finished the play by putting the ball into the back of the cage for her 11th goal of the season.
"We keep talking about focusing on one game at a time and about the process and who the next team is," said Knull. "To their credit they've done a great job doing that. It is tournament time when anything can happen and I think we're seeing that."
No. 5 Iowa upset No. 1 seed and regular season Co-Big Ten Champion Penn State, in Friday's first semi-final game. The Spartans and the Hawkeyes face off on Sunday at 12 p.m. for the Big Ten Tournament Title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The game will be featured live on Big Ten Network.