Spartans Earn First Conference Win Over Iowa, 3-2
Warner, Cheslik score in the victory.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State women’s soccer picked up its first Big Ten Conference win, 3-2, over Iowa on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans improve to 5-8-0 overall and 1-5-0 in conference meetings.
“I’m so happy for them. We talked about it yesterday after a tough game on Friday night against Nebraska - I just want them to have a chance to come off the field smiling one time,” head coach Tom Saxton said. “They put their heart and soul into things, but we’re a pretty inconsistent team. We get punished when we break down, like we saw on Friday night. Today, we had breakdowns too, but we responded to the breakdowns and scored some great goals.”
The Spartans and Hawkeyes proved to be an even match offensively, fighting for the lead throughout the game. Michigan State struck first in the 20th minute, when senior forward Jamie Cheslik took the ball into the Iowa zone. As the Hawkeye defenders focused on Cheslik, an opening was created for junior forward Lexy Warner on the opposite side to send her third goal of the season in the back of the net. Freshman midfielder Danielle Stephan notched her sixth assist of the season.
The Hawkeyes were quick to respond, evening the score at 1-all in the 24th minute of the game and both teams held on going into the half.
In the second half, the Spartans got a great look at Iowa’s sophomore goalkeeper Claire Graves when sophomore midfielder Hannah Jones launched a shot at the crossbar. Warner was there for the rebound, burying her second goal of the game in the 61st minute. Iowa was again quick to answer, finding an equalizer just one minute and 30 seconds later.
In the 68th minute, Jamie Cheslik picked up her third game-winning goal of the season with a shot from 20 yards out that sailed over the Hawkeye goalkeeper and into the net. Jones and freshman forward Alexandra Thomas were credited with the helpers.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Reilley Ott made eight saves in the win. It was a game of offensive efficiency for the Spartans, as all three shots on goal found the back of the net.
With the first conference win under their belt, the Spartans look to continue their momentum into the remaining matches.
“We still have five more Big Ten conference games,” Saxton said. “Last year, we finished strong. I think the schedule starts to spread out for us a little bit, where we’ll get our younger players a little more fresh legs. Sometimes if you break the seal on a goal, the momentum can go into your favor. Hopefully, we can capitalize and build on that.”
Michigan State will travel to Columbus, Ohio to play Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 6. Kick is set for 5 p.m.