Michigan State Field Hockey Ends Losing Streak
Defeats Iowa, 3-1, in Big Ten Tournament
IOWA CITY, IOWA -- The drought is over, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Michigan State field hockey team.
The Spartans won their first-ever game over Iowa in 35 meetings between the two schools, as they upset the Hawkeyes, 3-1, in the opening round of the 1997 Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament today. MSU, seeded No. 5 in the tournament, advances to play top-seeded Penn State on Saturday, with game time set for 12:30 p.m., CST, at Iowa's Grant Field.
"We knew the odds were against us, with Iowa being such a well-coached team, and having the home field advantage," Spartan head coach Michele Madison said. "When a team believes in something, and when it comes true and they made it come true, you can't ever forget that feeling."
Michigan State (11-9 overall), roared out of the game on Iowa's home field, seizing a 2-0 lead on its first two shots of the game. Senior Jill Lusher broke the ice 4:40 into the contest, taking a pass from senior Sarah Wilson and lacing a drive from 12 yards out on the left side of the goal past Iowa (8-10 overall) netminder Lisa Cellucci. With the frenzy surrounding the game's first goal still in the air, MSU struck again. A mere 42 seconds following Lusher's goal, senior Rayna Hiscox delivered for the Spartans, deflecting a Jacqueline Scally pass by Cellucci and putting MSU up 2-0.
MSU goalkeeper Beth George came up big in the first half, making key saves on Iowa penalty corners, including a sprawling stop on Iowa's Kerry Lessard's penalty corner drive with 20:30 left in the first. She made another fine save against Annette Payne, denying the penalty corner shot with nine minutes left in the half.
"She (George) made key saves, that's what she is capable of doing," Madison said. "She did it, but it was a total team effort. Whenever somebody needed help, they were there for each other today and that was the difference."
Iowa controlled the game's tempo early in the second half, keeping constant pressure on the MSU defense. Spearheaded by the defensive work of junior Melissa Pryor and Lusher, the Spartans denied the Hawkeye attack. MSU took away Iowa's momentum when Hiscox scored on a penalty corner to put the Spartans up 3-0
Hiscox's two goals marked her sixth multiple-goal game of the season and gave her a team-leading 16 for the season.
Payne scored the only goal for the Hawkeyes with 3:42 remaining in the game, breaking up George's shutout, but it wasn't enough for Iowa. The loss denies the Hawkeyes their 17th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
MSU now faces top-seeded Penn State, on Saturday. The Nittany Lions swept the season series from the Spartans, taking a 3-2 decision on Oct. 10 at Penn State and winning a 3-1 contest in East Lansing.
"We're going to try to ride the energy, ride the teammwork and ride the momentum for the rest of the tournament," Madison said.
SUMMARY MICHIGAN STATE 2 1 -- 3 IOWA 0 1 -- 1 Scoring First Half: MSU - Jill Lusher (Sarah Wilson) 4:40 MSU - Rayna Hiscox (Jacqueline Scally) 5:22 Second Half: MSU - Rayna Hiscox (Sarah Wilson) 54:50 Iowa - Annette Payne (Kelly Dolan) 66:18 Shots Michigan State: 8 Iowa: 12 Saves Michigan State: Beth George -- 5 Iowa: Lisa Cellucci -- 0 Records Michigan State: 11-9 Iowa: 8-10