2013 Field Hockey Preview
Spartans kick off season on Saturday
Aug 23, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - -
Michigan State kicks off the 2013 season with an exhibition match vs. Michigan on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Ralph Young Field.
The Spartans welcome back four of the top five scorers from the 2012 seasons along with top goalkeeper Molly Cassidy who recorded the most saves in the Big Ten. Michigan State is coming off of a 10-10 season in 2012 in which they also went 2-5 in the Big Ten. It was a season of close calls for MSU, with eight losses coming by just one goal, including three overtime losses.
2012 All-Big Ten selections Abby Barker and Becky Stiles are coming off of sensational sophomore seasons and have been tabbed as "players to watch" within the Big Ten along with teammate Molly Cassidy. Barker tallied an 18-3-39 scoring line last season, ranking fourth in the conference in goals and fifth in points. Cassidy, the Spartans' top goalkeeper for the past three seasons, led the Big Ten in saves with 128 while posting a 1.71 GAA to go along with her .785 save percentage.
Senior midfielder Kristen Henn was announced as the team captain by head coach Helen Knull. Henn returns to the lineup having played 65 games in the Green and White and looks to be the anchor of the Spartan lineup.
The Michigan State roster features 11 freshman, three sophomores, seven juniors, and five seniors.
The Spartan Staff
Helen Knull enters her third season as the head coach of Michigan State field hockey. Knull spent five seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at MSU from 2006-2010 and holds a 91-57 record while on staff for the Spartans. Knull was a four-year starter, two-year captain and a two-time All-American at Kent State, leading the Golden Flashes to the NCAA Tournament four straight years from 1999-2002. In 2002, Knull was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. She was inducted into the Kent State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008. Knull went on to be an assistant coach at her alma mater for two years and an associate head coach for a year before coming to Michigan State. As a coach at Kent State, Knull helped lead her alma mater to two MAC Championships in three years.
Molly Maloney enters her sixth season as an assistant coach for the Michigan State field hockey program. This offseason she was promoted to the program's top assistant position. Maloney joined the Spartans beginning in 2008, and Michigan State holds a record of 67-39, including three NCAA tournament appearances, in her tenure.
Jennifer Sciulli joins the Spartan field hockey staff for the 2013 campaign. She served as a student assistant coach at Ohio State in the fall of 2012 before graduating in December with a degree in Speech and Hearing sciences. Sciulli was a four-year varsity starter for the Ohio State field hockey team (2008-2011) where she was a First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection her senior year.
Scouting the Wolverines
Michigan went 15-7 last season and finished tied for second in the Big Ten, posting a 4-2 record in the conference. The Wolverines are coming off of a season in which they reached the Big Ten Championship game and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in the past 14 seasons. Three time All-American Rachael Mack leads the offensive attack for Michigan and has tallied 52 career goals wearing the Maize and Blue. The Wolverines leading goalkeeper from last season, Haley Jones, returns for her senior season. Jones was a Second Team All-Big Ten, All-Big Ten Tournament team and the Longstreth/NFHCA All-West Region second team 2012 pick. She posted a 1.62 GAA and .776 save percentage.
The Year Ahead
MSU will face eight NCAA tournament teams in its 19-game schedule, including reigning national champion Princeton and national semi-finalist Syracuse. In addition, three conference champions are on the docket for the Spartans during non-conference play: Miami (MAC), Old Dominion (CAA) and Stanford (NorthPac). MSU's first home game of the season will be September 6th against Syracuse as part of the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational.
The Spartans head west for a three-game road trip to start the regular season. Friday August, 30th, MSU will take on California, followed by games against Pacific and Stanford. All three of those games will take place at Stanford.