EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten announced its 2014 Players to Watch list for field hockey on Thursday, which included three Spartans: Seniors Abby Barker, Jenni Smith, and Becky Stiles.
Barker was the team's leading scorer last season in both points (38) and goals (18), and currently sits in sixth place for most goals scored all-time at MSU. She was a Third Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection last season, and highlights an experienced front line for the Spartans.
On the defensive end, senior Jenni Smith returns having started in all 24 games in 2013. Smith's versatile skills allowed her to be an anchor for a backline that recorded six shutouts last season, the third most in the Big Ten. On top of that, she led the team in assists and ranked third in the Big Ten with 11 helpers on the season.
Senior midfielder Becky Stiles appears on the Big Ten's "Players to Watch" list for the second consecutive season after a year in which she started in 23 games for the Spartans. Stiles was a Second Team All-West Region and Second Team All-Big Ten selection in 2013. She was also selected to compete in the US Women's National Field Hockey Championship over the summer.
Michigan State opens up the 2014 season at home on Saturday, Aug. 23, with exhibition games vs. Central Michigan at 10 a.m. and Kent State at 3 p.m.