Nov. 1, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s soccer team wrapped up the regular season on Friday afternoon with a senior day tribute for lone senior Kelsey Mullen. Michigan State fell to Penn State, 3-0, putting the Spartans at 9-8-2 on the season and 3-8-0 in the Big Ten, while Penn State moved up to 13-5-1 overall and 7-4-0 in the Big Ten.
The first goal of the game came off a penalty kick from Penn State’s Raquel Rodriguez in the 10th minute of play. Rodriguez was tripped in the box to set up the PK and she scored her sixth of the season. Michigan State head coach Tom Saxton realized immediately the difficulties with Penn State’s offensive strength, despite a strong Spartan back line.
“I think we came out a little sluggish,” said Saxton. “There’s a lot of hype around Penn State being the defending national runners-up. They have some good, strong offensive players, so I was a little disappointed that we didn’t transition to offense very well in the first 20 minutes.
“The bench came out after that and got us back into the flow of the game. It was nice to see the players come off the bench and give us a boost. Overall, the best team won the day and that’s a credit to Penn State.”
Courtney Clem picked up four saves in the remainder of the half, including batting away a corner kick from Taylor Shram and an otherwise unassisted attempt from Maya Hayes. The Nittany Lions totaled 12 shots and six shots on goal in the first half. The Spartans totaled two shots during the half.
Penn State opened the second half with a goal from Maya Hayes. Rodriguez stole the ball and quick-passed it to Hayes who scored from 16-yards out for 18th goal of the season in the 53rd minute of play.
Hayes picked up her 19th goal in the 68th minute when Tani Costa passed it over for Hayes to put it into the corner of the net.
Courtney Clem ends the season with a total of 54 saves. Penn State ended the game with 23 shots and 12 shots on goal. The Spartans posted five shots with one shot on goal. The team just finished a tough journey to a winning season and Saxton is proud of how far they’ve come.
“I’m excited, we’ve got a good young group,” said Saxton. “Our themes this year have been unity and resilience. I’ll tell you what, this is one of the most unified teams I’ve ever coached, going through ups, downs, injuries, losses, losing streaks and the resiliency factor has been there game in and game out. I’m pleased with where we’re going in terms of the team culture and I’m looking forward to next year.”