Field Hockey Opens Up Season in Exhibition Against Michigan
Aug. 19, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State field hockey team begins its 2011 season on Saturday, Aug. 20th, in an exhibition match against in-state rival Michigan. The game will be the only time the Spartans will appear at home on Ralph Young Field until they host Kent State on Sunday, Sept. 25th. The exhibition match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
"We really want to work on executing our game plan we set before the game against Michigan and on our corners," commented head coach Helen Knull. "We also want to make sure we compete and fight for 70 minutes as a team and that we are ready to play. Its early in the season, we are going to make mistakes, but learning how to minimize our mistakes and learning from the ones we do make will be important. "
There are many fresh faces on the squad this year, including Shaun Hindy joining the coaching ranks as an assistant coach. After the departure of eight seniors in 2010, which included the season's leading scorer Jantine Steinmetz, nine freshmen have joined the squad. With newcomers from both the United States and abroad, many of the freshmen have had both national and international field hockey experiences. Becky Stiles had a busy summer competing in the Women"s National Championship Tournament with the New Jersey High Performance team and attending Junior National Camp. At the conclusion of the Junior National Camp, Stiles was named to the U-21 National Field Hockey team. Heather Howie represented Scotland in the Volvo EuroHockey U18 Championships which took place in the beginning of July.
Much of the Spartan defense returns, including goaltender Molly Cassidy. Cassidy, a redshirt sophomore, garnered multiple awards in her debut season in net including being recognized as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times and the Defensive Player of the Week twice. Cassidy recorded five shutouts, a save percentage of .755 and a GAA of 1.70 in the 2010 season. Protecting Cassidy in the backfield will be junior Adelle Lever and MSU's only two seniors, Angie Lucik and Holly Sherman. Redshirt juniors Corey Block and Chelsy Coil and freshman Rachel Roberts will also be in the backfield for MSU.
This season the Spartans will have a forward line which boasts both veterans and newcomers, with junior Jessica Lindner and redshirt sophomore Elizabeth Helffrich leading the way. Linder notched three goals and one assist during the 2010 season and Helffrich contributed one goal. Freshmen Abby Barker, Heather Howie, Michelle Graham, Allie Ahern and Claire Johnson will all challenge for playing time up front during their first season in the Green and White.
The Spartans return a strong midfield, which includes junior Kristen Henn, the returning leading scorer from last season. Henn recorded nine goals and three assists, with many of her tallies coming off MSU's impressive ability to execute corner plays. Henn will be joined in the midfield by sophomores Mallory McDonagh and Katherine Jamieson, redshirt junior Christie Jones and freshman Ali Helwig. Freshmen Becky Stiles and Jenni Smith round out the midfield core.
The Spartans face their first nonconference opponent when they open up their season at the Champions Invitational against California on Aug. 27th at 6 p.m. On Aug. 28th, the Spartans match up with tournament host Louisville at 6 p.m.
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