Aug. 8, 2011
East Lansing, Mich. - The MSU women's soccer team gets ready for its first external competition of the season when it travels to Eastern Michigan on Saturday (Aug. 13) for a 5 p.m. exhibition contest.
The Spartans carry a senior class of 10 players, which includes the dynamic duo of Hudsonville, Mich. products Laura Heyboer and Jill Flietstra. The pair, who have best friends as long as they can remember and have been teammates almost as long, boasted impressive individual campaigns a year ago which put them in the MSU record books. Heyboer's 10 goals in 2010 tied her atop the career goal scoring chart at MSU with 39 career markers, and her 94 career points is five points shy of becoming the all-time points leader at MSU as well. Heyboer is a three-time All-America selection, the only Division I senior in the country with three All-America commendations under her belt. Flietstra handles the other end of the field for the Spartans, where she put up a career-best 11 shutouts and an impressive 0.64 GAA and .885 save percentage, which was good enough for seventh in the NCAA rankings a year ago.
The duo won't go at it alone. Up front, Heyboer's running mate last year was junior Olivia Stander (8-4-20), and the pair has sufficient support from their midfield on the offensive attack. Defensively, the Spartans will have to overcome the loss of Samantha Cook and Courtney Shegos on the back line, along with Cara Freeman - the trio all earned their degrees last spring after helping MSU allow just 13 goals in 2010, the fewest allowed in a single season in program history. Senior Katelin Chaklos returns, and sophomore Annie Steinlage will move back to her natural position as a defender this season to help a new - but experienced - group of backliners in front of Flietstra.
The Spartans will tangle with the Eagles this weekend in a brush-up for their season opener, which comes on Friday, Aug. 19 at DeMartin Stadium against Milwaukee. The Spartans will have two more games before the month of August is out, as MSU will play both DePaul and Duquesne at the Michigan Invitational on Aug. 26 & 28.