Nov. 13, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State defeated Miami (Oh), 3-0 in the play-in game of the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans improve to 13-9 on the season and advance to take on Syracuse on Saturday in the first round.
The Spartans won the play-in game in dominating fashion, controlling much of the possession and spending a good portion of the game deep in the RedHawks territory. MSU outshot Miami 21-6 for the game and held the RedHawks to zero shots in the first half.
"I think today we played Spartan hockey," said head coach Helen Knull. "Today we came out and controlled the game and that was the difference maker for us. They are a very aggressive team, so we talked about not giving them space in our defensive 50. We did a great job of stepping in front and denying them the ball and I think that really stunned their attack."
Despite generating several opportunities, it wasn't until the 30th minute that the Spartans got on the board. Allie Helwig sent a pass into the circle that found Allie Ahern. Ahern received the pass, spun at the top of the circle, and ripped a shot that fond the back of the net.
"I think for us coming off the championship game with the quick turnaround I think the girls stuck to the game plan," said Knull. "We had a lot of shots early and didn't score which can get frustrating, but the girls kept persevering and finally the first one dropped."
After leading 1-0 at the half, MSU came out of the break and immediately opened up its lead to two. Heather Howie sent in a cross-field pass from right to left that led to Miami goalkeeper Sarah Mueller coming out of net in attempt to break up the pass. Instead, the ball got through, finding Allie Ahern who finished on an empty net for her second of the afternoon and 13th of the season.
MSU's third goal came on crisp passing, moving from Ahern on the left sideline, up to Jamieson in the bottom of the circle. Jamieson took one touch and fired a quick pass to the middle to Abby Barker who turned and fired with no hesitation and passed the keeper.
"I think today, the key for us was that we just played Spartan hockey," said junior forward Abby Barker. "We controlled the pace the whole time. I think we all knew this wouldn't be the same as when we played theme the first time. We've grown as a team and came out and set the tone by playing our game."
With the win, Michigan State improves to 7-2 all-time in its opening round games of the NCAA Tournament and 9-8 overall.
Michigan State advances to take on No. 2 seed Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The two teams met earlier this season in East Lansing when Syracuse defeated the Spartans 4-0.