Oct. 26, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich.- Wrapping up its three-game homestand, the Michigan State field hockey team (7-10, 1-4 Big Ten) hosts No. 9 Stanford on Friday, Oct. 28th in its final non-conference matchup of the season. The game is slated to begin at 3 p.m. The Spartans will travel to No. 8 Penn State on Sunday, Oct. 30th, to face the Nittany Lions for their regular-season finale.
"I think this weekend we'll face two tough opponents with Stanford and Penn State," said head coach Helen Knull. "For us, we just want to finish the regular season on a high, play our best hockey, and hopefully find a way to continue on that road. We have to get prepared for the Big Ten Tournament next week."
The Spartans were blanked, 2-0, by Michigan at home last Friday. The Spartan defense held strong against the Wolverines, keeping 17 of their 19 shots out of the back of the net. Adelle Lever recorded her fourth defensive save of the season against UM.
The Cardinal, which is 13-2 this season, is undefeated in the NorPac at 6-0. Stanford has already claimed the NorPac regular season title and will enter into next week's conference tournament as the top seed. The Cardinal plays their last regular-season games on the road this weekend, facing both MSU and Michigan. Stanford went undefeated at home in 2011 at 6-0. Leading the Cardinal in scoring is defender Becky Dru, who has scored 13 goals and notched four assists.
Looking at the Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions (12-5, 3-2) most recently dropped Bucknell, 3-1. Sophomore Whitney Reddig , redshirt junior Hannah Allison and freshman Laura Gebhart all notched goals in the win. Junior Kelsey Amy leads the Nittany Lions in offense with 20 goals and four assists. Her 20 tallies put her in second place in the conference in goals scored. In net for the Blue and White is Ayla Halus, a redshirt junior who has a GAA of 1.73 and a save percentage of .731.
Dominating on Defense
Junior midfielder Adelle Lever leads the team in defensive saves with four. She most recently recorded one against Michigan, which prevented the Wolverines from scoring on a corner play. Her previous saves came against Northeastern, Kent State, and Indiana. Her four defensive saves ties her for second in the Big Ten.
The Spartans have had three different players honored by the Big Ten as Players of the Week so far this season. Goaltender Molly Cassidy was honored twice as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Her first accolade came after her 3-0 shutout over No. 7 Virginia and a 2-1 win over Miami of Ohio for the week of Sept. 13th. She was most recently honored 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 which gave the Spartans their first conference win.
Freshman Allie Ahern was also recognized the week of Oct. 18th as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week. The forward notched the game-tying goal against the Buckeyes and converted on her penalty stroke attempt to secure MSU's 2-1 victory. Freshman Abby Barker was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the week of Oct. 11th after scoring the lone tally in MSU's 1-0 win over Ball State and scoring two goals in the Spartans 4-2 loss to Indiana.
Big Ten Leader
Goalkeeper Molly Cassidy leads the Big Ten in saves per game with an average of 7.06 per contest. She also leads the conference in total saves, with 120 in 17 games. Cassidy has a GAA of 2.91 and a save percentage of .750.
On the Road Again
Following the conclusion of Friday's match against Stanford, the Spartans will have played three straight home games. This is a little different from the beginning of their season, where they were on the road for 10 consecutive matches. Over the course of the season, Michigan State has went 2-3 while playing in East Lansing, 4-4 while playing on the road, and is 1-3 in neutral contests. Their lone conference win was captured at home against Ohio State in a match that was decided on strokes.
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 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.
The Spartans travel back to Penn State on Thursday, Nov. 3rd for the Big Ten Tournament. The tournament bracket will be released once conference play is completed this weekend.