No. 24 Field Hockey Prepares for Big Ten Tournament
The Spartans begin post-season as the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Oct. 31, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The No. 24 Michigan State field hockey team will face the No. 11 Hawkeyes in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 12 p.m. The tournament will be held in Iowa City, Iowa, hosted by the University of Iowa at Grant Field. Semifinals will be held on Friday, Nov. 2, and the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 p.m.
Reflections on Last Weekend
MSU fell to No. 5 Penn State on Saturday, 6-1, in its final regular-season match. The Spartans finished the regular season 10-9 overall and went 2-4 in the Big Ten.
Against the Nittany Lions, Abby Barker scored the lone goal for MSU in the 10th minute, after Laura Gebhart had given Penn State a 1-0 lead at 4:44. Barker’s 17th goal of the season came unassisted and was deflected into the net off the foot of the PSU keeper, Ayla Halus. Penn State led 2-1 after the first half, with a goal by Taylor Herold at 14:57. PSU then notched four goals within a seven-minute time frame in the second half. Lauren Purvis, Whitney Reddig, Brittany Grzywacz, and Herold scored for Penn State, to finalize the score at 6-1. Sophomore Michelle Graham tallied three defensive saves for the Spartans while Molly Cassidy notched eight saves in goal.
MSU on the Big Ten Bracket
MSU, the No. 5 seed will face the No. 4 seed Iowa in the first round of the tournament. The winner of the matchup will face No. 1 seeded Penn State in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 2, at 2:30 p.m. The Championship game will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Insight on Iowa
No. 11 Iowa defeated Northwestern, 3-2, in overtime on Sunday after falling to Michigan, 2-1, on Friday. The Hawkeyes are 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. In home games, the Hawkeyes own a 6-1 record.
Jessica Barnett leads the Hawkeyes with 19 points, scoring nine goals and assisting on one. Both Dani Hemeon and Kelsey Mitchell have tallied eight goals and two assists (18 points). Other Hawkeyes with more than ten points this season are Natalie Caffone (15), Marike Stribos (14), Aubrey Coleman (13), and Niki Schultheis (11). In the cage for Iowa is Kathleen McGraw with a 1.47 GAA and .750 save percentage.
The Hawkeyes lead the Spartans in the all-time series, 46-12-1. Earlier this season, Iowa defeated MSU, 1-0; Barnett scored the lone goal of the game while Molly Cassidy recorded eight saves for the Spartans in the matchup. MSU last beat Iowa in 2010 with a 1-0 shutout; Cassidy tallied three saves in that game.
Penn State, Potentially
No. 4 Penn State enters the tournament 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten. Last weekend, Penn State defeated the Spartans, 6-1, securing its No. 1 seed in the tournament bracket.
Leading the Nittany Lions and ranking second in the Big Ten with 51 points is Kelsey Amy, with 21 goals and nine assists. Ashtin Klinger follows Amy with 25 points on 12 goals and one assist, followed by Brittany Grzywacz with 11 goals and two assists (24 points). In goal for Penn State, Ayla Halus has a 1.52 GAA and .740 save percentage.
Michigan State is 10-25 all-time against Penn State. In the last match of the season, the Nittany Lions picked up a win against the Spartans, 6-1. Last year, Penn State recorded a victory, 4-1, where Molly Cassidy made nine saves. The Spartans last defeated Penn State, 5-1, in 2009.
Previous Big Ten Tournaments
Michigan State last won the Big Ten Tournament in 2009, defeating Iowa in the semifinals, 5-1, and Indiana in the finals, 3-2. In 2010, the Spartans fell in the semifinals against top-seeded Ohio State, 2-0, after defeating Northwestern in the first round, 3-1. Last year, MSU fell in the first round of the tournament against the Buckeyes, 2-1.
MSU has won three Big Ten Tournament titles overall, in 2002, 2003, and 2009. The Spartans overall record in the Big Ten Tournament is 14-15. MSU’s record against Iowa in the tournament is 2-7; four of the losses were overtime matches.
Eight different Spartans have scored for MSU this season, tallying a total of 32 goals.
Sophomore Abby Barker leads the Spartans with 17 goals and three assists (37 points). Sophomore Heather Howie has totaled 13 points with five goals and three assists. Sophomore Allie Ahern has scored five goals and tallied two assists (12 points). Jenni Smith, Jessica Lindner, Katherine Jamieson, Becky Stiles, and Kristen Henn have each scored one goal this season for Michigan State, while Smith leads the Spartans in assists with four, notching two against both American and Kent State.
Redshirt junior goaltender Molly Cassidy owns a 1.71 GAA and .779 save percentage.
Sophomore Michelle Graham has recorded four defensive saves for MSU, three in the matchup against Penn State. Sophomore Alli Helwig has tallied three defensive saves and Jenni Smith notched one against Central Michigan.
As a team, MSU has tallied 122 saves this season, 60 per half and two in overtime.
MSU in Rankings
Michigan State tied with University of Maine for No. 24 in the 2012 Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Coaches Poll on Oct. 30. The Spartans were ranked No. 21 last week. The Spartans made their debut in the NFHCA Poll on Sept. 4 at No. 20.
This season MSU has scored more goals in the first half (17) then the second half (12). The Michigan State offense has recorded 210 shots with 96 in the first half, 109 in the second half, and five in overtime. The Spartans notched a total of 95 corners.
Of the 32 Spartan goals, 11 have been unassisted. Seven of Abby Barker’s 17 goals were unassisted.
Michigan State has won three of five games that have gone into overtime. Seven of the ten Spartan wins have been by one goal.
The Spartans have scored first in nine of their 10 wins. The only game where the Spartans didn't score first and had a win was against Stanford on Aug. 31. MSU scored first in three losses.
The longest winning streak for Michigan State this season was three games, with wins against Maine, Stanford and Miami (OH) in the beginning of this season.
Both Spartan wins in the Big Ten were shutouts. MSU is the only school in the Big Ten to have recorded two shutouts in conference games. Michigan State has recorded four shutouts this season.
MSU notched shutouts in matches facing Miami (Ohio) (1-0), Indiana (3-0), Ohio State (1-0), and Ohio (1-0). Goaltender Molly Cassidy has tallied 11 shutouts in her career.
Big Ten Hot Shots
The Spartans as a team rank first in saves (122) and saves per game (6.42). With three Spartans tallying defensive saves this season, MSU ranks second in defensive saves (8), behind Penn State (11).
Sophomore Abby Barker ties for third in the Big Ten in goals (17). Barker holds the fourth spot for goals per game (0.89) and the fifth spot for points (37). The forward ranks seventh in the Big Ten for shots (59) and points per game (1.95). Michelle Graham is tied for second in defensive saves (4) with Leslie Smith (Michigan). Alli Helwig is tied for fourth in defensive saves (3) with Jessica Barnett (Iowa) and Laura Napolitano (Ohio State).
In conference games only, Barker ranks fifth in points (11), points per game (1.83), goals (5), and goals per game (0.83). Graham leads the Big Ten in conference games with four defensive saves.
Goalkeeper Molly Cassidy ranks second in save percentage (.779), and first in saves per game (6.11), and saves (116). The goaltender also ranks tenth in the NCAA in save percentage.