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Spartan Field Hockey Hosts Tournament

Helen Knull is in her second season as head coach for Spartan field hockey.

Sept. 13, 2012

The Michigan State field hockey team hosts the Auto-Owners Insurance MSU Invitational tournament at Ralph Young Field. The tournament will feature Central Michigan, Louisville, American, and Michigan State.

During the first round on Friday, Sept. 14, Central Michigan will take on Louisville at 4 p.m. followed by Michigan State vs. American at 6 p.m.  On Sunday, Sept. 16, the consolation round will begin at 11 a.m. and the championship round at 1 p.m. 

Reflections on Last Weekend
No. 20 Michigan State is coming off a pair of losses -  to No. 6 Virginia, (2-1 in 2OT), on Sept. 7,  and to  No. 14 Northeastern, (3-1), on Sept. 9.

Against UVA, the visitors scored less than three minutes into the game, but sophomore Abby Barker scored the game-tying goal on a breakaway from 30 yards out in the eighth minute of the match.  It took nearly 80 more minutes of scoreless action to determine a winner - the final goal of the game was scored in the 87th minute by the Cavaliers.  

In the matchup against Northeastern, Barker again scored the lone goal of the game for MSU.  Trailing 1-0, her goal was scored in the first two minutes of the second half after receiving a pass from Heather Howie; Barker then dribbled the ball into the circle and cleared the way for a goal.  

Redshirt junior Molly Cassidy tallied 20 saves over the weekend for the Spartans.  Cassidy recorded a season high of 12 saves against Northeastern, which also ties the single-game season high in the Big Ten this season.

“Defensively, we have been a force to be reckoned with,” said head coach Helen Knull.  “We are looking to go 2-0, especially because it is the weekend before we begin Big Ten games.  To do this, we can’t have lulls and need to step up on our finishing.”

American’s Assets
American University enters the weekend with a 2-4 record.  The Eagles recently picked up two wins when facing Dartmouth in a 3-0 shutout (Sept. 8) and Massachusetts in a double-overtime match, 2-1 (Sept. 9).

Leading American’s offense with three goals ( six points) is junior Alex McMackin.  Gina Hofmann leads the Eagles in assists, (2), and has also scored one goal (four points).  Ashley Dalisera, American’s goalkeeper, has a 1.69 goals against average and .788 save percentage. 

This will be the sixth meeting between Michigan State and American.  Their last matchup was in 2009, a 5-1 win for the Spartans. 

How Louisville is Looking
Louisville is 4-2 as it goes into its game against Central Michigan on Friday.  Louisville’s last game was against Ohio on Sept. 8,  a 2-1 win.

Leading on the stat sheet for the Cardinals are Becca Maddock and Erin Schneidtmiller, who have both tallied four goals this season.  Amber Thomas and Haley Jurich have scored two goals each.  Erin Conrad has a 1.66 goals against average and .744 save percentage.     

Over the last five years,  the Spartans have had four meetings with the Cardinals, recording a 3-1 record.  Their most recent meeting last year was a 2-1 loss for MSU.  Chelsy Coil scored the Spartan goal and Molly Cassidy notched six saves.  

In-State Rival Central Michigan
Central Michigan has a current record of 3-2.  The Chippewas most recently faced No. 11 Stanford, a 2-1 loss.

Bailey McKeon and Erin Dye lead the Chippewas with four goals each this season.  Dye also tallied one assist (nine points).  Anastasia Netto guards the net for Central Michigan with a 2.20 goals against average and a .719 save percentage.

Michigan State leads the all-time series, 39-14-4.  MSU has won four straight, including a 2-1 victory last season where the game-winning goal was scored by Katherine Jamieson.

Scoring Spartans
MSU’s leading scorer is Abby Barker, with four goals.  Barker scored both of the Spartan goals last weekend.  Katherine Jamieson and Heather Howie each have a goal and an assist, while Allie Ahern and Kristen Henn have each contributed one goal this season. 

On the season, Cassidy currently owns a .855 save percentage and 1.67 goals against average.

MSU Jumps in Rankings
MSU moved up to No. 19 in the 2012 Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Coaches Poll on Sept. 11.  The Spartans entered the rankings last week at the No. 20 spot.  The Green and White received 124 points in the voting for the poll.

Big Ten Hot Shots
Sophomore forward Abby Barker ranks eighth in the Big Ten for shots with a total of 19 and 3.17 average per game. Barker also ranks fifth in goals, 4, and seventh in goals per game, 0.67.

 Michigan State ranks second with the least amount of goals scored against them, 8, and with goals allowed per game, 1.33. 

Sophomore midfielder Alli Helwig has tallied her first two defensive saves in her career for the Spartans.  The two defensive saves rank her at number two in the Big Ten for defensive saves.  Hewlig recorded both defensive saves over this past weekend, one against Virginia and the other while playing Northeastern. 

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Molly Cassidy holds the number one spot in the  Big Ten  in saves (47), saves per game (7.83), and most saves in a game (12 vs. Northeastern).   Cassidy ranks second in save percentage at .855 and at third in goals against average. 

Cassidy was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4, her sixth Defensive Player of the Week award at Michigan State. 

Becky Stiles International Travel
Sophomore midfielder Becky Stiles has been selected as part of the United States U21 Junior National Field Hockey Squad is currently completing in the Junior Pan American Games.  The games run through the 23rd in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Stiles is one of 18 athletes that make up the U21 squad.  The U.S. is currently undefeated and has recorded two shutouts against Venezuela and Paraguay. 

Stiles will return to the field on Friday, Sept. 28 for the match up against Indiana.  Stiles will miss a total of five games during the tournament.

Play Day Clinic                                                                             
The field hockey team will host its annual Spartan Field Hockey Play Day on Sunday, Sept. 16.  The event will begin at approximately 3:30 and last for two hours. 

Registration for the Play Day will occur the day of the event and is available to males and females between the ages of 10-18, and no experience is necessary for the individuals.  MSU field hockey players and coaches will lead the drills, game play, and goal-keeping training. 

Information on registering is available on the field hockey page on

MSU Coaching Staff
Helen Knull is in her second season as head coach and her seventh season on the coaching staff at MSU.  Knull served as an assistant and associate head coach at Kent State 2003-2005 after she competed on their team as a four year starter.  While an athlete at Kent State she was named All-American in 2001 and 2002 as well as team captain in 2002.

This is the second year for Shawn Hindy as an assistant coach at Michigan State.  He was former head coach at Leighton Area High School (2006-2010) and US Women’s National Indoor Team (2007-2010).  Hindy also was a member of the US Men’s National Team from 1995-2007 and 3-time Male United States Field Hockey Player of the Year (2000, 2002, 2004).  Hindy still partakes in field hockey as a member of the Men’s National Indoor Team.

Molly Maloney enters her fifth year as the assistant coach for goal keeping.  Maloney served as the graduate assistant coach at Central Michigan University before coming to Michigan State.  While in college, she competed for the University of Michigan and was a 2001 National Champion.  She holds the record at Michigan for most shut outs in a season.   

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 its game at the University of Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m. 

Next Up
The Spartans will begin Big Ten play next weekend when they face Iowa on Friday, Sept. 21, in a home contest at 3 p.m.  MSU will then travel to face Duke at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23. 



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