EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women’s soccer is set to begin regular season play with two home matches, hosting Niagara on Friday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. and Washington on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. at DeMartin Soccer Stadium.
Head Coach Tom Saxton enters his 27th season at helm of MSU women’s soccer, with help from associate head coach Tammy Farnum, in her 21st season, and assistant coach Stacy DeLonge, in her 15th year.
ABOUT THE SPARTANS
Michigan State returns nine starters from last season. Highlighting the returners is senior forward Jamie Cheslik, who led the Spartans in three different scoring categories with five goals and four assists for 14 points. Cheslik headlines the six of MSU’s seven scoring leaders from a year ago, as sophomore midfielder Hannah Jones was tied for second on the team with four goals and added one assist for nine points, ranking third on the squad.
Cheslik, junior forward Lexy Warner and junior defender Michaela Kovacs were named to the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Players to Watch List, the conference announced on Monday. Last season, Warner scored two goals and one assist for five points, the fourth highest on the team. Kovacs played 1,680 minutes on the field, holding down the defense with the second highest amount of minutes.
Senior defender Madison Duncan anchors the Spartans’ backline which posted four shutouts last season. Senior goalkeeper Savanna Wojtanowski split time in net last season, making an average of 7.56 saves per game while posting a 1.61 goals against average.
The Spartans face off with the Niagara Purple Eagles to kick off the season for the second time in as many years, with kick time slated for 3 p.m. Last season, the teams played to a 0-0 draw after 110 minutes of play. The Spartans lead Niagara 2-0-0 in the all-time series.
“We’re excited to get the regular season started,” Saxton said. “The team has had a good start, and we’ve had a nice series over the years with Niagara. The match should provide a good opening test at home.”
Following the match with Niagara, MSU will host Washington at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Huskies will come to East Lansing for the first time since 1992, though the teams last met in 1995. Washington leads the all-time series, 2-0-0.
“Washington is a power five school in the Pac-12, and they have a great tradition,” Saxton said. “Being able to play them is great for establishing Michigan State and the Big Ten as strong programs. It’s a special opportunity that will be a great way to start our season.”