Oct. 27, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State dropped its final game of the season Saturday afternoon falling 1-0 to Northwestern. The Spartans ended 8-9-2 on the season and 2-8-2 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats improved to 7-10-2 and 3-8-0 in Big Ten play.
Northwestern took the early lead, scoring in the 19th minute on a goal from Niki Sebo, her fifth of the season. Katie Gancedo sent in a cross from the right side where Courtney Clem misplayed the ball, losing control after she appeared to cover it up, leaving Sebo in front all alone to tap it in.
"Those are one of the breaks that didn't go our way and it was just a bad bounce," said head coach Tom Saxton. "We had a couple of chances at the end that we couldn't put away. I thought they mucked the game up in the last half hour, so the rhythm was never there - and that's good coaching. It's what you're supposed to do when you're protecting a one-goal lead."
The Spartans made several attempts to get something going and find the equalizer, but the Wildcats defense limited MSU's opportunities in the final third to preserve their 1-0 lead.
"They were very organized in the back and kept us in front of them," said senior forward Olivia Stander., who was among the seven seniors playing in their final games in Green and White on Saturday. "We were unable to get behind, which is where we are most successful, and that kept us from getting goals."
Stander was the Spartans leader in all offensive categories this season with five goals, 10 assists and 20 points. She ends her career at Michigan State second all-time in career assists with 22, sixth in points with 78, and ninth in goals scored with 27.
"Olivia is one of the most creative offensive players we have ever had," said Saxton. "She's put in a heck of a lot of effort and been a good leader in her own way. It has been a pleasure to coach her she is a brilliant soccer player. "
Courtney Clem had three saves on the day while Northwestern held an 11-10 edge in shots and 4-3 in corner kicks.