Aug. 17, 2012
Michigan State gets the 2012 season underway with a split weekend of action. On Friday, the Spartans play in Bowling Green, Ohio against the Falcons (7p.m.). MSU returns to the friendly confines of DeMartin Stadium for its home opener on Sunday, entertaining Fordham in a game at noon.
WATCH: 2012 Michigan State Women's Soccer Preview
Watch, Read, Listen, Follow
Live statistics for the game at Bowling Green can be found at http://www.sidearmstats.com/bgsu/wsoc/scoreboard.aspx, and Sunday's home match against Fordham can be followed live at www.MSUSpartans.com
Friday's game at Bowling Green will be televised in the Toledo area by BCSN, but is not available out-of-market. Another BG note is that Friday is move-in day on the Bowling Green campus, and traffic patterns will be altered. BG is urging fans to allow a little extra time to arrive at the game, and to get traffic updates from @BGGameday on Twitter.
New Season, New Faces
The 2012 version of the Spartan women's soccer team has 10 new faces after the departure of the same number of seniors from last year's squad. However, there are several veterans at key positions which will help anchor and guide this year's team, and help not only the newcomers transition to college soccer, but also help the returning players move into new roles.
The team captains are seniors Olivia Stander and Jordan Mueller, and junior Annie Steinlage. Stander, the team's top returning scorer from a year ago, will be the team's rock up front, and has talented newcomers and veterans to work with in an effort to generate offense. Mueller will anchor the midfield, the area which has the most new faces. MSU's back line has the most returning experience, as Steinlage, seniors Desiree Aber and Kelsey Kassab, and junior Kelsey Mullen all return and drew the start in MSU's 1-0 exhibition victory over Milwaukee. Redshirt sophomore Courtney Clem will be the Spartans' keeper out of the gate -she worked two years behind three-year starter Jill Flietstra, and drew spot duty when Flietstra had injuries which kept her out of the lineup.
The Spartan Staff
Tom Saxton begins his 22nd season as the head coach of the Spartan women's soccer program, Saxton has spent more than half his life involved with Michigan State soccer. A life-long Spartan, Saxton earned three letters as a player before returning to campus in 1989 to assist legendary Spartan soccer coach Joe Baum with both the men's and the new women's program. Saxton was appointed the second head coach in the history of the women's program on June 1, 1991. In 21 seasons, Saxton's career record stands at 213-169-39.
Tammy (Anderson) Farnum was a four-year letterwinner and standout defender at Michigan State, (1989-92) and is now in her 16th season on the Spartan staff, and has been the Associate Head Coach since 1995. Assistant coach Stacy Heller was a standout keeper for MSU (2000-03) and was a two-time All-Big Ten Selection and an Academic All-America as a senior. She has mentored two of the program's most prolific keepers since her graduation, Nicole Galas and current volunteer assistant Jill Flietstra, who graduated in 2012 and joins the staff in her first post-graduate coaching position.
Scouting the Falcons
Bowling Green is led by interim head coach Kellie Evans, and she welcomes back a total of 19 letterwinners, including eight starters, from last year's team. The 2012 roster features a total of 28 players, including nine newcomers.The roster also includes four seniors, including fifth-year seniors Becca Ison and Leah Johnson and fourth-year Falcons Emily Rothwell and Sarah VonderBrink.
BG posted a 3-0 victory over Indiana State in the Falcons' lone exhibition match this fall.
A Look at Fordham
The Rams were picked to finish eighth in the 16-team Atlantic 10. Fordham returns nine starters from last season, including the Rams' top two scorers in sophomore Kristina Maksuti and senior Annie Worden. The Rams also return plenty of experience in the back, which includes senior goalkeeper Rachel Suther, junior defenders Kaitlyn Carballeira, Mary Solimine, Casey Nowakowski, and midfielder Kaitlin Abrams. Suther played in a career-high 17 games a year ago and made a career-best 78 saves, as she solidified her spot as the Rams' top netminder.
In their pre-season action, Fordham scored three times in a five-minute stretch to down Seton Hall, 3-1.
Michigan State was selected in a sixth-place tie with Iowa as the Big Ten announced its 2012 women's soccer preseason coaches' poll and players to watch list on Tuesday, Aug. 14. In addition, the league released its list of 36 "Players to Watch" - three from each team. Jordan Mueller, Olivia Stander and Annie Steinlage were the three Spartans who earned a spot on that list.
Home Sweet Home
Six of MSU's non-conference games will be played at DeMartin Stadium, the home of Michigan State soccer. The two road tilts in that span are both easy trips - Friday's tilt at Bowling Green, and a midweek game at Oakland (7p.m.) on Sept. 5.
Once the Big Ten season begins, the Spartans play in some of the toughest road venues the Conference has to offer - Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Ann Arbor. MSU will have its first-ever home game against Nebraska, which joined the Big Ten last season. The Spartans downed the Huskers last year in Lincoln.