Sept. 30, 2011
East Lansing, Mich. - Laura Heyboer scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute to give Michigan State a 1-0 victory at Nebraska on Friday night in the first-ever conference meeting between the teams. Classmate Jill Flietstra made six saves to post her sixth shutout of the season. The victory pushes MSU's record to 10-2-0, 3-1-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska falls to 5-4-1 overall and 2-0-2 in Big Ten play.
The game featured the two top scorers in the nation, Heyboer and Nebraska's Morgan Marlborough. Heyboer, who entered the game with 14 goals, was one behind Marlborough and Penn State's Maya Hayes, who shared the Big Ten and national lead with 15 each. Hayes was held scoreless on Friday in a 3-1 win over Ohio State, while Marlborough took five shots but was limited to just one on net by the Spartan defense. The three sit atop the conference's goal-scoring chart, while Hayes (three assists on Friday) has 38 points, Heyboer 36, and Marlborough 34.
"We went with a bit of a veteran lineup after watching Nebraska's previous games - and I thought we played with a lot of poise and got a really fantastic effort," noted head coach Tom Saxton. "Nebraska brought a really physical game, and I thought that we really kept our composure and handled things well. I thought that all four of our backs played extremely well - we kept them from getting shots inside the box."
The Spartans had the better of the run of play in the opening 30 minutes of play, capped by Heyboer's goal came in the 26th minute. She came up wide on the right and beat the outside back; she launched a shot from 20 yards out, taking the keeper off guard and sending a low shot that found it's mark at the near post. It was her team- and Big Ten-leading sixth game-winning goal of the season.
Flietstra was impressive yet again, making six saves, one off her season high. Flietstra has had six saves in each of her last two conference games, and is averaging 4.5 saves per game in Big Ten play. She owns a personal shutout streak of 186:20, dating back to the game against Wisconsin. Her sixth shutout of the season is also the Big Ten's best.
"Jill was very very good for us today," said Saxton. "She cleaned up a lot in the box, and our backs did a nice job of not allowing Nebraska to get a lot of penetration. I thought that she really handled herself so well with the pressure. They threw everything they had at us at the end, and she played with poise."
The Spartans return to play on Sunday at Iowa, which owned the longest undefeated streak in the Big Ten during the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Huskers will tangle with Michigan, also on Sunday.