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Sept. 17, 1997

Lusher's Return Sparks MSU Victory, 2-1

EAST LANSING, Mich.. - Senior Jill Lusher scored the game-winning goal with 11:20 remaining to give the Spartans a 2-1 field hockey victory over Kent on Tuesday night.

Lusher, making her season debut with the MSU (5-2) squad, beat her defender near the top of the circle and blasted a reverse chip past Kent (2-4) goal-keeper Kelly Walker, breaking a 1-1 deadlock. Lusher had missed the Spartans' previous six games while playing in the 1997 Junior World Cup in Seoul, Korea.

"We put her (Lusher) in the forward position, which is not her normal position, but it was the best place to put her without disrupting the team. We needed help finishing plays and she got it done," said Michigan State Head Coach Michele Madison.

The Spartans opened up a 1-0 lead at halftime, as senior Emma Fernandez took a pass from Lusher near midfield and outsprinted the Kent defense, putting her shot past the net-minder for the first goal of the game with 1:36 left in the half.

Kent evened the score early in the second, as Kent's Jakolien van Eijk took a pass from Elsbeth Versterre and deflected one past MSU goal keeper Beth George. But MSU's defense held the Golden Flashes after that, including a fine defensive save from senior Sarah Wilson, as the Spartans upped their season mark to 5-2.

"The team feels good. They got their momentum and rhythm back. They trusted the system and played well," remarked Madison.

Michigan State returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 17, as they host Central Michigan at the Duffy Daugherty Indoor Facility at 8 p.m.

"It (CMU-MSU) is a rivalry. It'll be a tough game - they always fight tooth and nail," said Madison.

NOTES: The Spartans have now won nine consecutive non-conference games at home, dating back to Sept. 8, 1995, when the Spartans dropped a 2-1 decision to Syracuse...Senior Rayna Hiscox had her point streak snapped at five games...Fernandez now has 23 goals for her career, tying her for ninth on the Spartans' all-time list. Lusher's goal gives her 22 for her career, leaving her one shy of the ninth spot...Michigan State has now won their last five against Kent, and have not lost to them during the reign of Michele Madison (4-0)...MSU GK Beth George lowered her goals-against-average to 1.43 and upped her record to 5-2, as she has played every minute for the Spartans in goal...The Spartans outshot Kent, 18-6, and totaled more penalty corners, 14-3...MSU's Emma Fernandez and Kent's Abbey McKay each received yellow cards with 1:55 remaining in the game...MSU's defense limited Kent to one shot and no corners in the first half.

MICHIGAN STATE  1   1       --  2
KENT            0   1       --  1
First Half:
MSU - Emma Fernandez  (Jill Lusher)  1:36
Second Half:
Kent - Jakolien van Eijk (Elsbeth Versterre) 26:13
MSU - Jill Lusher  (Adrienne Miroslaw) 11:20
Michigan State:  18
Kent:  6 
Michigan State:
Beth George -- 2
Kelly Walker -- 9
Michigan State: 5-2
Kent: 2-4

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