Nov. 10, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State (12-9, 4-2 Big Ten) defeated Iowa, 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament Championship, earning the Big Ten's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. MSU scored three unanswered goals to erase a 2-0 halftime deficit and defeat fifth-seeded Iowa to claim the title.
Sunday's win marks Michigan State's first Big Ten Title since 2009 and the Spartans are now 4-0 all-time in Big Ten Tournament Championship games.
Senior Adelle Lever came up with the heroics, scoring the game-winning goal with seven minutes remaining in the game. Lever made a move past Iowa goalkeeper Kelsey Boyceto, leaving nothing but an open net in front of her. The ball went further out of her reach than she would have liked after the initial move, but Lever too a full out dive to get her stick on the ball and into the back of the net, sending the Michigan State sideline into an uproar.
Iowa used two first half goals to open up a lead, but MSU stayed persistent and hung around. Abby Barker cut the lead down to one and got the Spartans on the board with her 15th goal of the season in the 44th minute.
Still down 2-1, Michigan State was awarded its only penalty corner of the second half in the 58th minute and didn't let the opportunity slip. The Spartans capitalized and tied the game up after Abby Barker redirected the ball in front from Jenni Smith, scoring her second of the game and fifth of the tournament.
After Lever netted to go-ahead goal, Michigan State wouldn't give it back, keeping the Hawkeyes from even getting a shot off for the remainder of the game. MSU held possession for a majority of the final minutes until the clock hit zero, giving the Spartans the victory and their first Big Ten Tournament Championship since 2009.
With the win, Michigan State earns the Big Ten's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. It will be the Spartans first appearance in the post season since 2010 and ninth appearance all-time.
Barker's two goals in the game gave her a total of five for the tournament, earning her the tournament MVP. Goalkeeper Molly Cassidy was also named to the All-Tournament team along with Barker.
The NCAA Selection show will take place tonight at 10 p.m. and will determine where and when the Spartans will play next.