Sept. 28, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 2-1 on Friday afternoon to improve its record to 9-3-1 and even its Big Ten record at 2-2. Nebraska dropped to 5-6-1 and 2-2 in the Big Ten.
Olivia Stander had the game-winning goal in the 86th minute on a ball sent in by Annie Steinlage. Stander got the ball and chipped it over Nebraska goalkeeper Emma Stevens head, who was playing out of the goalie box when the Spartans went on the attack.
With the goal, Stander continues her way up the Michigan State all-time record charts. She now sits 10th all-time in goals with 26, ninth in career points (71), and the game-winning goal marked the fifth of her career, which ties her for fifth all-time.
The Spartans took a first-half lead in the 25th minute on their only shot of the first half. Steinlage played the ball in to Allyson Krause on the right side of the box, who controlled the pass and kicked the ball into the upper left 90 and gave MSU a 1-0 edge.
The Cornhuskers kept pushing and eventually got the equalizer in the 83rd minute. On a free kick from 40 yards out, the ball was played into the box and quickly found the foot of Mayme Conroy who put the ball into the back of the net. Caroline Gray received the assist on the play.
"`We had periods of break downs today but it's going to be natural for teams to make runs," said Stander. "But I think to be able to communicate and stay defensively organized is going to be good for us and help us get through those rough patches."
While the Conroy goal could have deflated the Spartans, but instead Stander's goal less than two minutes later put the game away.
"`A positive is that we showed great character throughout the game, because giving a up a goal that late does not usually set a team up for a great finish," said head coach Tom Saxton. "`But thankfully, Annie and Olivia connected on a great play at the end to get us the win. In the big picture today was an incredibly important win.`Iowa is a very difficult opponent for us on Sunday, so I knew this game was a must- win as far as staying in the Big Ten race.
Goalkeeper Courtney Clem made five saves, four of them coming in the second half to help the Spartans secure the victory.
Steinlage assisted on both Michigan States goals, and she now leads the team that category with seven on the year.
Michigan State wraps up a weekend of home games on Sunday when they take on Iowa at 1 p.m. The game is part of a women's/men's double-header. The women will play first followed by the Men's game vs. defending Big Ten Champion Northwestern. Both games will air live on the Big Ten Network.