Aug. 31, 2012
Michigan State wraps up a four-game homestand with a Sunday matinee against MAC entry Akron.
Michigan State is off to a 3-1 start on the season, winning their first three matches over Bowling Green, Fordham and Loyola (Md.), before falling to Cal State Fullerton last Sunday.
Akron enters the match with a record of 2-1-0, after splitting a pair of games last weekend at the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. The Zips defeated VCU, 2-1, on Friday and fell to William & Mary, 4-0, on Sunday. Freshman forward Megan Waskowski leads the Zips in scoring with one goal and three assists for a team-high five points. Waskowski was named to the all-tournament team at the Tennessee Lady Vol Classic after netting two assists against VCU. Senior forward Ashley Hughes is UA's top returning scorer from last season, and has a goal and an assist this year.
MSU leads the all-time series with Akron by a 3-0 margin, and the teams will be meeting for the second consecutive year. The Spartans recorded a 5-0 win in Akron last September. Olivia Stander scored her first career hat trick and keeper Jill Flietstra (now the Spartans' volunteer assistant coach) became the school's all-time shutout leader in the that contest. Laura Heyboer and Kori Reinhart also had goals in the contest. The other two meetings in the series came in 2004 and 2005. Michigan State won 3-0 on Oct. 30, 2004 in East Lansing and the Spartans also won, 1-0, on Sept. 16, 2005 in Akron.
Tom Saxton is in his 22nd season as the head coach of the Spartan women's soccer program. 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 standout defender at MSU (1989-92) and is now in her 16th season on the staff. Stacy Heller was a standout keeper for MSU (2000-03) and was a two-time All-Big Ten pick. Jill Flietstra graduated in 2012 and joins the staff in her first post-graduate coaching position.
The Spartans are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, a 1-0 decision at the hands of Cal State Fullerton. Courtney Clem stopped four of the five shots she faced, but the Spartans could not capitalize on their opportunities on the offensive end. The Spartans held the edge in shots on goal (6-5), while each team had eight corner kicks on the day. The lone Titan goal came on one of those corner plays, as the Spartans could not clear the ball and Stacey Fox essentially had a slide-tackle into the area to punch the ball into the back of the net.
Megan Marsack, who had a goal and an assist in her freshman season, has already surpassed her freshman year total in both goals (2) and points (4). Lisa Vogel did not have any points as a freshman, but had a goal and two assists vs. BG. Annie Steinlage scored her first collegiate tally against Fordham, while Chelsea Peterson recorded her first college score in the win over Loyola.
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. 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.
Six of MSU's eight 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 day trips - at Bowling Green, and a midweek game at Oakland (7p.m.) on Sept. 5.
The Big Ten Network will televise three MSU women's soccer games live this season. Two of those games will come on the road - at Minnesota (Sept. 23) and at Illinois (Oct. 4), a night game against the Illini. On Sept. 30, the Network will air a women's/men's doubleheader from DeMartin Stadium, showing the women's game against Iowa as well as the men's contest against Northwestern. The Big Ten Network will also televise the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 4 in Bloomington, Ind.