MSU Returns to East Lansing for Big Ten Home Opener
The Spartans host No. 4-ranked Penn State Friday night.
The Michigan State field hockey team returns home to Ralph Young Field Friday night to host No. 4-ranked Penn State in a 6 p.m. match in Big Ten play.
Live stats for the match will be available for fans to follow along. Stats can be found by clicking here.
The Spartans hold a season record of 6-5 with a Big Ten record of 1-1. MSU is on a three-game win streak after picking up two huge road wins last weekend, including a double-overtime shootout victory over Ohio State Sunday, and a 3-2 victory over Miami (Ohio) Friday night.
All of MSU’s losses have come from ranked opponents this season, the highest ranked being Michigan at No. 8.
No. 4-ranked Penn State is the highest ranked team the Spartans have faced this season.
The Spartans wrap up a busy August and September, as they return home for a Friday home game after playing seven of their last 11 games on the road.
MSU has faced at least one ranked opponent in every weekend of play with last weekend at Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State being the only exception.
The Spartans have competed in three overtime games, two of which have gone into double overtime and one of which took a shootout to decide a winner.
The Green and White has been successful in the overtime games, winning all three attempts.
Through the first 11 games, the Green and White is averaging 2.00 goals per game while allowing 2.82 gpg.
The Spartans have registered 16 assists this season along with a shots on goal percentage of .540.
As a squad, the Green and White sits at fourth in the Big Ten in total shots with 163.
MSU is tied for 19th in the nation in defensive saves with four. The team is 20th in the NCAA in saves per game with 7.09.
Redshirt senior midfielder Kendal Anderson leads the Spartan attack with six goals (seventh-best in the Big Ten) and 13 points. Anderson has tallied 32 total shots, eighth-best in the conference.
Senior forward Sophie Macadré is second on the team in goals with five and in assists with three. The senior has 13 points on the season, second-best on the team.
Redshirt senior back Simone Vagnoni and sophomore midfielder Makenzie Brown sit tied at third on the team with three goals apiece. Vagnoni adds two assists to her stat total. Brown is the only Spartan this season to collect two goals in one game. The Scotland native tallied two goals in less than 20 seconds in the match against Yale on Sept. 17.
Junior back Bailey Higgins leads the team in assists with four. The junior sits at ninth in the conference in assists.
Redshirt senior back Lauren Bonness, sophomore forward Kelsey Keener, freshman forward Meredith Ross, sophomore back Hannah Ackers, and senior forward Grace Santi have each recorded one goal for the Green and White.
Senior Katie Miller and freshman Mairi Fletcher have both seen time in net for the Spartans, combining for a save percentage of .723. Miller owns a save percentage of .696 while totaling 48 saves and recording over 570 minutes in net. The senior captain is fifth in the Big Ten in saves.
Fletcher is fourth in the conference in saves per game with 4.80. The freshman has a save percentage of .744.
Last Time Out:
The Spartans registered two huge wins last weekend, one non-conference and one Big Ten win.
On Friday afternoon the Spartans traveled to Miami of Ohio, leaving Oxford with a 3-2 win on a game-winning goal that came after time had expired on a penalty corner.
As time expired, the Spartans were awarded a penalty corner. MSU entered the ball via Macadré, however, the Green and White was stopped, earning another corner.
The second penalty corner was also unsuccessful, but MSU was awarded a third penalty corner on which they found the back of the net. Anderson played the ball directly off the corner, sending it to senior forward Grace Santi who claimed the game-winner on her first goal of the year.
The previous two goals came from Macadré and Anderson. Macadré’s goal came in the seventh minute of play, when the senior took control of the ball at midfield and dribbled it all the way into the circle before firing a one-timer into the net.
Anderson’s goal came when she played the ball off the rebound in the 62nd minute. It was the sixth of the season for Anderson.
Fletcher and Miller split time in net Friday, with Fletcher playing the first half and Miller relieving her in the second. Miller had three saves on the day while Fletcher tallied two.
On Sunday the Spartans wrapped up their trip to Ohio with a win in Columbus over Big Ten competitor Ohio State. The win was arguably the most exciting victory for the Green and White, coming in a shootout after both teams were unable to score in the two extra periods.
Vagnoni was credited with the game-winner in the shootout which went seven rounds. The back scored the final goal by drawing the goalkeeper out of the net, going wide right before firing the ball past the Buckeye defender.
The previous goal in the game came from Macadré when the senior played the rebound off the penalty corner, sliding the ball past the Ohio State goalkeeper.
Both Miller and Fletcher recorded minutes in the net for the Green and White in the victory with Fletcher recording two saves and Miller playing in the second half, registering eight saves.
The series No. 4 Penn State dates back to 1987 when the Nittany Lions defeated the Spartans by a final of 2-0 on Oct. 4.
The last time the two teams met was on Sept. 30, 2016. Penn State beat MSU 4-1 in that meeting.
PSU holds a series advantage of 30-10-0.
MSU last defeated PSU on Oct. 31, 2009. The Spartans claimed a 5-1 win in that game.
Scouting Penn State:
Penn State is the highest ranked opponent the Spartans have faced this year, sitting at No. 4 in the nation.
Charlene Morett-Curtiss is in her 31st season at the helm of the PSU program.
The Nittany Lions are 8-2 overall with a conference record of 2-1. Their conference loss came at the hands of Michigan, who shut out Penn State by a final score of 3-0 last Sunday.
As a squad, PSU averages 3.20 goals per game and gives up 1.30. They have a shots on goal percentage of .642 and register 19 total assists.
Junior Moira Putsch leads the team in goals with eight while adding seven assists. Juniors Aurelia Meijer and Gini Bramley are tied for second on the team with five goals each.
Junior Jenny Rizzo is the leading goalkeeper for PSU, claiming a 1.33 goals allowed average and a save percentage of .806.
“After a four-game road trip, it always feels good to be home on our own field, in our own routine and we can prepare without travel interruptions,” said head coach Helen Knull. “Each game the team is making adjustments that are allowing us to improve and play better hockey. We are looking forward to playing under the lights at Ralph Young Field with our home support.”