Spartans Prepare to Host Michigan
Michigan State to play 32nd rivalry match.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - As the season winds down, Michigan State women's soccer hosts Michigan at DeMartin Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. This marks the 32nd meeting between the in-state rivals, and the match will be streamed on BTN Plus. The match is a double-header with men's soccer at 3 p.m., and those wearing youth soccer jerseys will get in free.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State returns to East Lansing after a two-game road trip against two top 20 opponents. The Spartans faced their third and fourth ranked opponents of the season, respectively.
On Friday, Oct. 6, MSU held No. 17 Ohio State scoreless through 90 minutes to force their second overtime game of the season. In double overtime, OSU netted the game-winning goal in the 100th minute to claim victory.
MSU faced No. 14 Penn State on Sunday, Oct. 8, dropping 4-0 on the Nittany Lions' senior day.
COACH SAXTON SAYS
On the previous two matches...
"We got a lot of young people into the game, which was great. We got a lot of good minutes for our young players which will hopefully be a good development for them in time. Overall, going on a tough road trip against two top 20 teams, our young team represented itself well. Obviously, it was a heartbreaker on Friday night against Ohio State and against Penn State, we just fell short against a talented offensive team."
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
In their last time out, Michigan women's soccer fell to No. 17 Ohio State, 1-0. The Buckeyes scored the go-ahead goal in the 81st minute and the Wolverines couldn't find an equalizer.
Junior forward Reilly Martin is the leading scorer on offense, totaling 13 points on four goals and five assists.
Freshman forward Sarah Stratigakis comes in second on the team in scoring, with 11 points from three goals and five assists. Stratigakis has had a standout rookie season, named B1G Freshman Player of the Week twice so far.
The Wolverines' leading goalkeeper is senior Sarah Jackson, who has seen action in nine games and started in seven. Jackson has accumulated a 0.98 goals against average. Her 56 saves make for a .862 save percentage, the third-best percentage in the Big Ten Conference. Jackson is also first in the conference in saves per game, averaging 6.20 a match.
Michigan State is 12-12-7 overall against Michigan, proving an exciting series between the in-state rivals. The Spartans look to defend an impressive 8-3-1 home record against the Wolverines. The last meeting between the two teams took place on Sept. 24, 2016, when Michigan shut out Michigan State, 1-0, in Ann Arbor.
Freshman midfielder Danielle Stephan leads the team in assists with six, and has started in all 15 games for the Spartans. Stephan scored her first career goal against No. 17 Wake Forest on Sept. 7 and has seen 1,119 minutes on the field this season.
Forward Alexandra Thomas has played in nine games this season and has scored three points on two shots. Thomas scored the lone goal in the Spartans' loss to Minnesota on Sept. 24 and tallied an assist against Iowa on Oct. 1.
Midfielder Bella Jodzis has come in off the bench in 12 games, playing 403 minutes in total and taking two corners for MSU. Defender Athena Biondi has seen action in six games, playing a season-high 57 minutes against Purdue on Sept. 17.
MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Reilley Ott has started in all 15 matches for the Spartans, making 83 saves overall for the season. Ott is currently second in the Big Ten in saves, and has claimed two shutouts. Ott made a season-high 10 stops against Nebraska on Sept. 29, and owns a 2.13 goals against average.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Savanna Wojtanowski came in off the bench against No. 17 Wake Forest (Sept. 7), playing in 80 minutes for the Spartans and making seven saves. Wojtanowski also saw action in the second half against Minnesota (9/24), and versus Penn State (10/8).
Senior forward Jamie Cheslik leads the team in goals and points, generating six goals and three assists for 15 points overall and passing her point total from last season. Cheslik also has a team-high three game-winning goals that came against Samford (Aug. 27), Oakland (Sept. 3), and Iowa (Oct. 1).
THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE
Ohio State has emerged as the top contender in Big Ten play, unbeaten in their last five matches. Minnesota comes in second, and Penn State sits in third.
The three top teams in the Big Ten are also the three squads currently ranked among the top teams in the nation. Ohio State is the B1G's highest ranked team at No. 12, and Penn State comes right behind at No. 13. Minnesota is ranked for the first time this season, coming in at No. 23.
The Spartans have just two matches left following the home contest with Michigan. Michigan State will travel to Maryland for a tilt with the Terrapins on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.
MSU then returns home for the last regular season match of the year, hosting Northwestern for senior night on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on BTN Plus.