Oct. 20, 2011
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Helen Knull | Angie Lucik
EAST LANSING, Mich.-Fresh off of its first conference victory, the Michigan State field hockey team (7-9, 1-3 Big Ten) hosts No. 7 Michigan on Friday, Oct. 21st. The match is slated to begin at 4 p.m. and will air on the Big Ten Network. The two Spartan senior backs, Angie Lucik and Holly Sherman, will be honored prior to the start of the game for their commitment and dedication to the Spartan field hockey program over the last four years.
"Michigan has really strong play and passing within their team and the last couple of games we've made some tactical changes which really helped us against our other Big Ten opponents," said head coach Helen Knull. "For us it's going to be clutch to keep working on our press, covering the spaces, and limiting their attacking opportunities. They have some really crafty players in the attacking 25. We have to stay disciplined and play a full game."
The Spartans captured their first Big Ten victory last weekend when they topped Ohio State, 2-1, in a match that was decided by penalty strokes. Freshman Allie Ahern was the first to get on the board when she scored on a corner play at 42:50. The Buckeyes responded a minute later, tying up the game on their own corner play. The match remained in a deadlock throughout the rest of regulation and two overtime periods. During strokes, goaltender Molly Cassidy notched two important saves, while Adelle Lever, Jessica Lindner, and Ahern all capitalized on their penalty strokes, leading the Spartans to victory.
The Wolverines enter Friday's match with an overall record of 11-3 and are 3-1 in the Big Ten. Michigan most recently blanked Penn State, 2-0 and was led by the scoring efforts of Rachael Mack. Mack is currently the leading scorer for the Wolverines, with 11 goals and two assists. The Wolverines have split time between the two goalies, Christi Barwick and Haley Jones. Each has recorded two shutouts, and Barwick leads the Big Ten with a GAA of 1.11.
Thank You Seniors
Seniors Holly Sherman and Angie Lucik will be honored prior to the start of the match for all the hard work and influence they have had during their time as Spartans. The duo have proven to not only be leaders on defense for the Spartans, but leaders in the community and in the classroom as well. Lucik and Sherman have been a part of 57 Spartan field hockey wins, the 2009 Big Ten Regular season and tournament titles, and three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
Both freshman forward Allie Ahern and redshirt sophomore goaltender Molly Cassidy were honored by the conference as Big Ten Players of the Week for the week of Oct. 18th. Ahern picked up her first conference accolade as the Big Ten Freshman of the week for her stellar performance against Ohio State. The freshman scored the lone regulation goal for the Spartans off of a corner play and then tallied the game-winning penalty stoke. Cassidy tied her career-high with 14 saves against the Buckeyes and was a key factor in the Spartans' shootout victory.
The Spartan's two top scorers are freshmen forwards Abby Barker and Allie Ahern. Barker leads the team in goals scored with eight and game-winning goals with three. She also has recorded an assist. Ahern has notched four goals and one assist so far in her debut season with MSU. She leads the Spartans in shots with 33.
The Spartans have had goal contributions from 11 different players so far this season. Abby Barker leads the Spartans with eight goals. Behind her is Allie Ahern who has notched four goals and one assist, and redshirt sophomore Elizabeth Helffrich who has tallied three goals. Junior Adelle Lever and redshirt junior Chelsy Coil each have scored twice for MSU. Freshman Heather Howie leads the team in assists with four.
Big Ten Leader
Goalkeeper Molly Cassidy leads the Big Ten in saves per game with an average of 6.94 per contest. She also leads the conference in total saves, with 111 in 16 games. Cassidy has a GAA of 2.93 and a save percentage of .745. She was most recently honored as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 18th after tying her career-high with 14 saves against the Buckeyes and notching two game-changing saves in the penalty stroke victory.
Home Sweet Home
The Spartans began their 2011 season playing 10 straight road games. They have traveled to Louisville, Ky., Boston, Mass., Oxford, Ohio, Providence R.I., and Indiana since the beginning of their season. When they finally returned home, the Spartans opened their home slate with an exciting 2-1 overtime victory over Kent State. MSU then fell in its next two home games to Northwestern and New Hampshire. They were able to rebound with a 2-1 shootout victory over Ohio State to move their home record to 2-2; MSU's remaining home games are against Michigan on Oct. 21st and Stanford on Oct. 28th.
Game Day Promotions
Every student that received a t-shirt at the Spartans' Ohio State game will be eligible to win an iPod touch at the October 21st game against Michigan. In order to be eligible to be entered into the raffle, students must wear the shirt they received at the OSU game to the Michigan game. The drawing will take place at halftime.
The Spartans host their third straight home game when they welcome Stanford on Friday Oct. 28th at 3 p.m. This will be the Green and White's last home game of the season before they head to Penn State for the regular-season finale.