Aug. 30, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will begin their home contests this weekend, against the Stanford Cardinal on Friday, Aug. 31 at 3 p.m., and against the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 4 p.m.
“Opening the season last weekend we played a little tentatively,” said head coach Helen Knull. “By our game on Sunday, the team had relaxed and began a mental shift of playing Spartan field hockey. They have energy and confidence going into this weekend after coming off of a win against Maine on Sunday. It is going to be an electric atmosphere on Friday with MSU football beginning their season at home as well.”
Michigan State travelled last weekend to Orono, Maine to play ranked teams, No. 17 Boston College and No. 22 Maine. After falling to Boston College in a 1-0 match on Aug. 24, the Spartans had a 3-1 victory against Maine on Aug. 26.
The Boston College Eagles scored their only goal at 3:50 in the first half by Virgyina Muma off a rebound of a wide shot that hit the right goal post. In the few minutes prior to the goal, Molly Cassidy faced three shots on goal, all of which she saved. The Spartans took two shots during the game, both in the second half.
No. 11 Stanford currently has a 1-2 record. The Cardinal began its season with a 10-0 shutout win against La Salle, but lost to No. 1 Maryland in double overtime, 3-2, as the Terps scored the game-winner in the final 30 seconds. On Wednesday, Stanford hosted No. 20 Northwestern, a 4-1 loss.
Hope Burke and Alex McCawley lead Stanford in scoring with three goals each. Returning defender Kelsey Harbin, a sophomore, has been selected to the US U21 squad along with MSU's own Becky Stiles.
The Spartans lead the all time series record with Stanford at 7-3. Last year, the Spartans fell to Stanford at home 3-0. Cassidy recorded eleven saves in that match up.
Looking at the Redhawks
Miami fell last weekend to No. 20 Northwestern (3-0) and No. 23 Louisville (3-1) in the first games of the season.
Goalkeeper Sarah Mueller opened the season strong, tallying 14 saves against Louisville. Emily Gruessner scored the lone goal for Miami last weekend against Louisville.
Leading scorers for the Spartans include Abby Barker scored two of three goals against Maine. Barker also recorded one of two shots taken while facing Boston College.
Allie Ahern scored her first goal of the season last weekend against Maine.
Molly Cassidy saved ten shots over the past weekend; only allowing one goal in each game. Cassidy’s current goals against average is 1.31 and she has a save percentage of .833.
Becky Stiles in U21
Sophomore midfielder Becky Stiles has been selected as part of the United States U21 Junior National Field Hockey Squad that will compete in the Junior Pan American Games. The games will take place from Sept. 10-23 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Stiles is one of 18 athletes that make up the U21 squad.
Lever started in all 20 games last season and tied for second in the Big Ten with four defensive saves. She was also named Second Team All-Big Ten.
Cassidy begins her third year as starting goalkeeper for the Spartans. In 2011, she led the Big Ten with an average of 7.5 saves per game. She was also honored as a member of the Longstreth/NFHACA Division I All-West Region Second Team.
Stiles started in every game at center midfield in her freshman season. She tallied three assists as well as scored the overtime game-winning goal against Kent State.
This season, MSU will play a total of 12 teams which were ranked in the Penn Monto/NFHCA preseason poll in 2012.
Michigan State will face No. 5 Duke, No. 8 Virginia, No. 11 Stanford, No. 17 Boston College, No. 21 Northeastern, No. 22 Maine, and No. 25 American in their non-conference portion of the schedule. Teams currently ranked in the Big Ten include No. 9 Penn State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 12 Iowa, No. 15 Ohio State, and No. 20 Northwestern.
An additional possible ranked opponent will be No. 23 Louisville during the Auto-Owners Insurance MSU Invitational.
Home Game Stretch
Spartans will compete at home for the next seven games, which includes the Auto-Owners Insurance MSU Invitational on Sept. 14 and 16. The tournament will feature Central Michigan, Louisville, American and Michigan State. Michigan State only hosted six home contests last season, and has a total of 10 games at Ralph Young Field this year.
Neutral Site Games
Michigan State will be hosting two neutral site games at Ralph Young Field this coming weekend. Saturday, Sept. 1, Stanford will take on Miami (Ohio) at 4 p.m. Stanford will then take on Central Michigan at 1 p.m. on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.
Big Ten Network
The Big Ten Network is scheduled to televise more field hockey games than ever before. Six games will be televised this season as well as the Big-Ten Tournament. Michigan State will appear during their game at the University of Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m.
Michigan State will continue their home contests with two games next weekend. The Spartans will take on No. 8 Virginia on Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. and No. 21 Northeastern at 2 p.m. on Sept. 9.