Sept. 15, 2013
YPSILANTI, Mich. - Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz scored on a pair of penalty kicks, including one in the 88th minute, to help the Michigan State women's soccer team remain undefeated with a 3-2 victory over Eastern Michigan on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Ypsilanti. It was the final nonconference game of the season for the Spartans, who are now 6-0-2 heading into Big Ten play at Nebraska on Thursday. EMU is now 1-4-1 on the year.
"I expected it to be a very difficult game, and it was," said MSU head coach Tom Saxton. "We feel fortunate to have gotten out of there with a win. EMU played us tough."
The Spartans were outshot, 12-8, in the first half but had the majority of quality chances.
"We did very well offensively from the start. We missed a lot of good opportunities early and I started to think it might be one of those games where you're unable to convert," said Saxton.
Fiebernitz gave the Spartans a 2-0 cushion in the 70th minute on her first of two penalty-kick goals in the game.
But the Eagles didn't go away and scored twice in five-minute span to tie the game. Bianca Rossi cut the Spartans' lead to 2-1 in the 74th minute and then Stephanie Clark capitalized on a penalty kick in the 79th minute to knot the game at two.
The Spartan defense then held and Fiebernitz scored on her second penalty kick of the game at the 87:20 mark to put MSU ahead for good.
"It became a back and forth game there for a while," said Saxton. "To Eastern Michigan's credit, they didn't stop working. I think we started to get pretty tired on the backline, too."
Saxton was also glad to see the team's relentless work in practice on penalty kicks pay dividends.
"We work on them in practice week after week," said Saxton. "Mary Kathryn has some good confidence right now and she was able to convert twice."
In her second consecutive start in goal, MSU keeper Gabrielle Gauruder made eight stops.
"I thought she played well today and that's certainly a positive for us," said Saxton.
The Spartans will return to action Thursday at Nebraska at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on BTN.