Aug. 20, 2010
College Station, Texas - Sophomore Olivia Stander scored the game's lone goal in the 21st minute of play and junior keeper Jill Flietstra made four saves to help the Michigan State women's soccer team to a season-opening victory over St. John's on Friday afternoon. The Spartans are competing in the Aggieland Invitational at Texas A&M University, and will play North Carolina, No. 1 in the pre-season polls, on Sunday to wrap up the tournament.
The game was played in the peak heat of the afternoon, with the heat index of more than 100 degrees taking its toll on both sides. The teams played at a deliberate pace, and the Spartans went into their bench to keep players fresh.
The Spartans broke through in the 21st minute when Annie Steinlage picked up a loose ball in the midfield, pushed it forward, and slotted a pass to Olivia Stander on the left side. Stander curved her shot around the keeper and into the side netting at the far post for the game's only tally.
"Getting that first goal early was big, especially in the conditions in which we played," noted head coach Tom Saxton, who is starting his 20th season at the helm. "It was kind of a war of attrition out there today, but we handled it the best we could. We'll get our team cooled down and rested, and get ready for a tough game with UNC on Sunday."
The Spartans outshot the Red Storm 10-9, but both teams had four shots on net. St. John's had a slight edge in corner kicks (4-3), getting three of their four in the second half.