Spartans Prepare For A Pair of Weekend Games
Oct. 3, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State field hockey team hits the road for a pair of weekend games against Indiana and Miami (Ohio). The Spartans take on the Hoosiers on Friday at 3 p.m. and the game will be featured on Big Ten Network. MSU then plays its last non-conference road game of the season at Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Michigan State won its Big Ten opener against Ohio State on Saturday, defeating the Buckeyes 3-2 at home. MSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead before two quick scores from OSU tied the game up at 2-2 by halftime. The game remained knotted until Allie Ahern put home the game winning goal with 7:22 remaining in the game to give the Spartans the edge and a 1-0 record in Big Ten play.
15 different players have recorded at least a goal or an assist this year for the Spartans. Allie Ahern leads the attack with nine goals on the season, while Heather Howie, Kristen Henn, and Abby Barker have all tacked on two each. Alli Helwig and Katherine Jamieson lead the team in assists with three each, while four players (Kristen Henn, Heather Howie, Jenni Smith and Becky Stiles) all have two assists.
Allie Ahern has been a consistent force for the Michigan State offense. She has now scored six goals in as many games, bringing her season total to nine. Her two goals on Saturday over Ohio State brought her to the top of the Big Ten leader board in goals scored, while her 18 points ranks fourth. Ahern has now scored the game-winning goal in three of MSU's four victories.
On the defensive side, goalkeeper Molly Cassidy has made 39 saves this season, the third most in the Big Ten. Cassidy recorded her first shutout of the season against Northeastern (9/20) and stopped a season high eight shots when MSU took on No.3 Princeton (9/13). Michigan State goalies have made a combined 44 saves this year, one off the pace with Michigan for the league lead.
All-Big Ten forward Abby Barker has played three games since being sidelined due to injury after the the Stanford game (9/2). The team's leading scorer from the 2012 campaign scored the lone goal for MSU against No. 20 Old Dominion (9/22) and assisted on the game winning goal over Ohio State last Saturday.
Michigan State has scored first in all four of their wins this year, recording team shutouts in two of those victories.
Weekend Scouting Report
The Hoosiers welcome Michigan State to Bloomington as part of a stretch of eight consecutive home games. Indiana enters Friday's Big Ten matchup with a 6-3 record and a 0-1 mark in conference play.
Audra Heilman leads the offensive attack for the Hoosiers, ranking tied for second in the Big Ten in points with a 7-6-20 scoring line. The Spartans will have to be ready to play strong defense, as the Hoosiers have scored an average of three goals per game, the highest mark in the Big Ten. Maggie Olsen is the likely goalkeeper for the Hoosiers, as she has started in all nine games so far this season, recording a 1.56 GAA and Big Ten leading .750 save percentage.
Michigan State has owned the all-time series with Indiana, posting a 16-3 record when the teams meet. MSU won 3-0 in East Lansing in last year's matchup.
The RedHawks enter the weekend with a 5-6 record and kick off MAC play on Saturday against Ohio before hosting the Spartans. Miami defeated common opponent Ohio State 4-2 on Septermber 18th.
The RedHawks have a balanced offensive attack, led by Ali Froede and Alyssa Logan who have five goals each, followed by four other girls with three goals each. Goalkeeper Sarah Mueller has started in all 11 games for the RedHawks and has made 65 saves while owning a 2.27 GAA.
Michigan State is 12-4-1 all-time against the RedHawks.
Michigan State plays two more road games this weekend, making that six of its last seven games played away from home. MSU returns home for two home games next weekend against in-state rival Michigan and Ball State. MSU has played just three games at home so far this season, going 2-1 in games at Ralph Young Field. After this weekend, four of Michigan State's remaining six games will take place at its home venue.
Relying on Experience
Senior midfielder Kristen Henn was announced as the team captain by head coach Helen Knull. This is Henn's third year as a captain of the Spartans and she looks to be the anchor of the Spartan lineup this season. She got off to a hot start in the 2013 campaign, netting the game-winning goal in the team's exhibition match against Michigan and picking up a goal and two assists in the first three games. Henn became the fourth Spartan to score multiple goals this season when she punched in a goal in the 2-0 win over Northeastern (9/20).
The Spartans roster features 12 underclassmen (11 freshmen, 3 sophomores), which means Michigan State will lean heavily on experience and team leadership. There are nine juniors and seniors on the roster that have started in all ten games to start the season, and the top five point getters on the team are all upperclassmen.
B1G Players to Watch
Playing the Best
MSU faces eight teams from last year's NCAA tournament in its 19-game schedule. The non conference portion of the season has already featured three games against teams that are currently ranked in the national poll, including reigning national champion Princeton (11th), last year's national semi-finalist Syracuse (5th) and Stanford (6th). Michigan State also played Old Dominion who was ranked 20th when the teams met.
The slate doesn't get any easier for the Spartans once they enter conference play, as Big Ten opponents Penn State (8th), Northwestern (10th), Iowa (15th) and Michigan (19th) all currently sit in the top 20. MSU took on Michigan as an exhibition game to start the year, beating the Wolverines 2-1.
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.
USA Field Hockey
Allie Ahern, Becky Stiles and Abby Barker were among the top field hockey players in the country competing at the USA Field Hockey U-21 National Championships this past June. Stiles and Barker competed at the US Field Hockey National Championships in late May, vying for a spot on the U-21 team. Stiles competed for Team New Jersey, and Barker for the Midwest/California Squad.
Michigan State returns home for a pair of weekend games highlighted by a matchup with in-state rival Michigan. The Spartans will take on the Wolverines on Friday, October 11th at 3 p.m and will be the annual Pink game where MSU will wear its pink jerseys and socks to promote breast cancer awareness.On Sunday, MSU welcomes non-conference opponent Ball State to East Lansing and the teams will square off at 1 p.m.
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