Nov. 6, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will take on Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be featured on Big Ten Digital Network (paid subscription) and will take place following the first two games of the day.
Michigan State finished the regular season 9-9 with a 4-2 record in Big Ten play, earning the number three seed in the tournament. MSU and Michigan finished the season with identical 4-2 records, but Michigan State's 3-2 double overtime victory on Oct. 11 over the Wolverines gave the Spartans the edge for the three seed.
MSU wrapped up Big Ten play last Saturday with a 4-3 win over No. 18 Iowa. Katherine Jamieson stole the show, recording three goals and tallying an assist in the game. Molly Cassidy made nine saves against the leading goal-scoring team in the conference to help lead the Spartans to victory. Abby Barker also tallied her team high 11th goal of the season.
Last season, Michigan State lost in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, a 2-1 overtime loss to Iowa. MSU is looking for its first Big Ten Tournament win since the first round in 2010.
MATCHUP WITH INDIANA
When MSU and Indiana met earlier this season in Bloomington, MSU came away with a 4-3 win. Abby Barker recorded her first career hat trick in the game, helping the Spartans to open up a 4-1 lead. A late push from Indiana closed the gap to one goal, but MSU held off the Hoosiers, improving Michigan State's record to 2-0 in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers enter Thursday's matchup with a 9-9 record overall and 1-5 mark in conference play. Audra Heilman leads the attack for the Hoosiers with a 10-12-32 scoring line, good for the third-most points in the Big Ten. Maggie Olsen is the likely starter in net, owning a 2.77 GAA. Her 97 saves on the season is the most in the Big Ten.
Michigan State has owned the all-time series with Indiana, posting a 17-3 record when the teams meet.
Katherine Jamieson recorded a hat trick against Iowa this past Saturday, making her the third Spartan this season to do so. Allie Ahern did it against Pacific (9/1) and Abby Barker accomplished the feat against Indiana (10/4)
Jamieson was selected as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for her seven point effort against the Hawkeyes. Her seven points in a game was the third highest mark in the Big Ten this season, and she became the first Offensive Player of the Week for Michigan State since Floor Rijpma (Nov. 2, 2009).
Junior back Jenni Smith has had a recent point surge, tallying five assists over the last three games. Smith was the other Spartan to be given a weekly award from the conference this season, as she was Co-Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 15.
Michigan State has scored first in all nine of its victories this season.
Abby Barker and Allie Ahern have recorded a combined eight game winning goals this season, with Barker's five ranking third in the conference. Both are also in the top ten of the Big Ten leaderboards in both points and goals. Barker ranks eight in points (24) and fifth in goals (11) while Ahern ranks 10th in points (22) and seventh in goals (10).
Barker scored a goal in five of the last six games for the Spartans, and ranks third in the Big Ten in goals per game at 0.79
On the defensive side, goalkeeper Molly Cassidyhas made 82 saves this season, the second most in the Big Ten. Cassidy turned away a season high 12 shots against Penn State (10/19). She recorded her first shutout of the season against Northeastern (9/20) and Michigan State goalies have made a combined 89 saves this year, which ranks second in the Big Ten behind Indiana. MSU's four team shutouts also ranks third in the Big Ten.
Molly Cassidy and Kristen Henn were selected to play in this year's Front Rush / NFHCA Division I Senior Game. The game will be held on Saturday, November 23rd at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex in Virginia Beach, VA. Game time is 2:15 p.m Big Ten Player of the Week
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 captain of the Spartans and she looks to be the anchor of the Spartan lineup this season. Henn is fourth on the team in goals with four and fifth on the team with 10 points.
The Spartans roster features 12 underclassmen (11 freshmen, three sophomores), which means Michigan State will lean heavily on experience and team leadership. There are seven juniors and seniors on the roster that have started in all 19 games to start the season, and the top eight point scorers on the team are all upperclassmen.
PLAYING THE BEST
MSU faced eight teams from last year's NCAA tournament in its 19-game schedule. The non-conference portion of the season featured games against four teams that are currently ranked in the national poll, including reigning national champion Princeton (9th), last year's national semi-finalist Syracuse (2nd), Old Dominion (5th) and Stanford (10th).
Four teams that the Spartans faced in conference play also currently sit in the rankings. Michigan State recorded wins over No. 18 Michigan and No. 20 Iowa, and suffered losses to No. 6 Penn State and No. 13 Northwestern.
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.
The winner of Thursday's matchup will advance to take on the winner of second-seeded Northwestern and seventh-seeded Ohio State.