Sept. 12, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State wasted no time in taking the lead of Wednesday evening's game against Western Michigan, scoring just 63 seconds into the game and preserving that lead to hold on for the 1-0 victory over the Broncos. MSU completes its non-conference schedule with a 6-1-1 record.
The Spartans attacked early, and the aggressiveness paid off almost immediately. Paige Wester fought for a loose ball in the box and eventually delivered a pass to Olivia Stander, whose left-footed shot found the bottom right of the net. The goal was Stander's third of the season and moved her into 10th place all time in Michigan State history for career points (69) and a tie for 11th in career goals (25).
"We don't get too caught up in individual awards," said head coach Tom Saxton. "But when players who have meant so much to this program get rewarded with milestones, it means a lot. I'm very happy and proud of her, and I know she's not done yet."
After giving up that quick goal, Western Michigan used its physical defense to keep the lead at one and hold the Spartans offense in check the rest of the game.
"We had a wave of 30 minutes after the goal where they just stormed us, because I think subconsciously we had people think it would be any easy game and it was no such thing," noted Saxton. "I challenged our reserves and they changed the tempo of the game, and then after halftime our veterans stepped up. It wasn't pretty soccer, but sometimes that is the way you have to play."
Western Michigan's best chance came with eight minutes to go in regulation, when Brittney Pavlica had a good look in the box, but fired her shot high and wide. The Broncos outshot Michigan State (11-8), but couldn't convert to tie the game up.
Goalkeeper Courtney Clem highlighted the Spartan defense with four saves as she posted her third straight shutout and fourth of the season. Her shutout streak has reached more than 315 scoreless minutes.
"We were under siege most of the game," said Saxton. "Courtney has very good command of her box with flighted balls, and that is what helped preserve the shutout. She's got a few this year and I expect her to get many more in her career."
Michigan State's next game comes on Sunday, where the Spartans will take on Purdue to begin Big Ten play. The game is a 12 pm. start and a part of a double header at DeMartin Stadim, as the men's soccer team hosts Marquette as part of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge.