Oct. 25, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Going into its final Big Ten regular-season game this Friday at 3 p.m. with Michigan at Old College Field, the 3-6 Michigan State women's soccer team can still clinch the eighth and final playoff slot in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts on Nov. 2 at Penn State. Right now, the Spartans are in ninth place in the standings with nine points and Wisconsin, with 10 points, is holding onto eighth place. Michigan State needs to beat Michigan and needs Northwestern to either tie or beat Wisconsin on Friday in the regular season finale to capture the last playoff slot.
Michigan State will bid farewell to the team's three seniors in the trio's final home game on Friday before its 3 p.m. game with rival Michigan. Co-captain Jenee Witherspoon has appeared in 79 career games and is the team's active leader in career assists with 13. Linsey Laskowski has appeared in 58 career games, including 10 as a reserve midfielder this season, and gathering three assists. Lauren Gallinger walked onto the Spartans after playing two seasons with the Michigan State club soccer team. She has appeared in two career games.
Freshmen Leave Their Mark
The freshmen did it again for the Spartans on Oct. 22, as Lauren Sinacola and Lauren Hill each scored to charge the 2-0 win at Minnesota. Sinacola, with five goals, 12 points and two game-winning goals, and roommate Hill, who leads the Spartans with eight goals, 18 points and three game-winning goals, are both atop the team leaders in points, but they aren't the only freshmen contributing to the scoring. Freshman Megan Brown scored her first career goal against Northwestern for a game-winner. In total, the trio has 14 of the team's 18 goals and six of the seven game-winners.
A Freshman Leader
Freshman Lauren Hill could become the third Michigan State freshman in the last seven years to lead the team in scoring. With eight goals and two assists for 18 points, Hill is six points ahead of fellow freshman Lauren Sinacola, who has 12 points. Junior Maureen Pawlak led the Spartans with 15 points as a freshman with five goals and five assists, and Tiffany Laskowski '03 led the team with 13 points in 2000.
Galas Moves Up Career Lists
Junior goalkeeper Nicole Galas has moved into third place in Michigan State history in career saves after her six-save shutout against Minnesota on Oct. 22. Galas' 189 saves place her just in front of Kristi Turner (1990-93), who made 187 career stops. The shutout also moved Galas past Sara Kloosterman (1997-2000) into second on Michigan State's career shutout list with 17.
Witherspoon Is A Gamer
Senior co-captain Jenee Witherspoon played in her 75th-career game on Oct. 8 at Wisconsin. Moving back to her natural position of forward after starting the first 12 games on defense, Witherspoon has gathered two assists in the last five games. A versatile player, Witherspoon has played defense, midfield and forward since coming to State, accumulating five goals and 13 assists. Witherspoon has seen action in 79 career games, which is tied for seventh in MSU history.
Michigan State has won three games in the final 10 minutes of regulation and has scored four of its 18 goals in the last 10 minutes of regulation. Junior Maureen Pawlak was the latest to post the feat, scoring in the 87th minute to lead the Spartans to a 1-0 win over Iowa. Freshman Megan Brown's score in the 80th minute led the Spartans to a 2-1 win at Northwestern and freshman Lauren Hill's goal at Bowling Greeen in the 87th minute led to a 2-1 win. Freshman Lauren Sinacola's 90th-minute goal at Penn State forced overtime in a 3-2 loss.
Pawlak Reaches 30
Junior Maureen Pawlak became the 29th player in school history to reach 30 career points with her game-winning goal in the 87th minute against Iowa on Oct. 15. Pawlak, who has 10 career goals and 10 assists, is also the 30th player to reach 10 goals in a Green and White uniform. She passed associate head coach Tammy Farnum, who finished her Spartan career with 29 points.
Spartans Reach 225
Oct. 15's 1-0 win over Iowa was the program's 225th win in its 21-season history. Michigan State, which established its program in 1986, has won 15 games (1986) once, 14 games three times (1987, `88, `89, `91) and 12 games eight times (1990, `93, `94, 2000, `02, `03, `04, `05).
Sophomore Kristi Timar has shown a knack for helping the Spartans get the ball in the net at the most opportune times. She assisted on the game-winning goal on Oct. 6 at Northwestern to help the team to its first Big Ten win, after scoring a goal of her own earlier in the contest. Timar also scored the team's first goal this season, against Central Michigan on Aug. 25 and scored the two goals in the school's first NCAA Tournament win last year against Bowling Green. She is in the team lead with five assists and also has two goals for nine points.
Playing Stingy D
The Spartans allowed just five shots on goal in Sept. 29's 1-0 loss to Indiana. It was the lowest shot total for an opponent this season and the lowest since Akron took just two shots in Michigan State's 1-0 win on Sept. 16, 2005. The Indiana defense, however, was just as stingy, allowing five shots.
The Iron Girl
Junior defender Erin Doan, a co-captain, has started every game since stepping foot on Old College Field, a streak now at 60 games, despite a myriad of injuries. Doan broke her nose three times as a freshman and wore a mask for much of the season. Earlier this season, she played with a deep shin contusion that took her from the team's game with Detroit in the second half.
Galas' Great Week
Junior Nicole Galas shut out two opponents and went 2-0-1 between the pipes for the Spartans during its three-game week ending Sept. 17, helping her pick up Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and SoccerBuzz.com National Elite Team of the Week nods. Her 14 saves helped her to both awards for the second time in her career, as she also earned the awards on Sept. 6, 2005 after shutting out sixth-ranked Texas A&M.
Smurf Plays Big
Freshman Lauren Sinacola, who earned the nickname "Smurf" while playing in older age groups in youth soccer, has scored five of Michigan State's last 10 goals. Even with a game-winning goal against Detroit on Sept. 12 and a go-ahead goal at Bowling Green on Sept. 15, her most impressive game came against ninth-ranked Penn State on Sept. 22. She scored twice for the Spartans, tying the game at one with a corner kick goal in the first half and knotting the game at two with four seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime. She also scored a game-winner at Minnesota on Oct. 22, keeping MSU in the hunt for a playoff slot.
Michigan State found its form that led to 12 shutouts during the 2005 season from Sept. 7-17, as the squad gave up just a single tally in four games in early September. During that stretch, the Spartan defense limited opponents to 34 shots (8.5 per game), helping junior Nicole Galas to three shutouts.
A Solid Lineup
Head coach Tom Saxton has trotted out a very consistent starting lineup this season, with nine players starting each game: Kelley Amormino, Lauren Astry, Erin Doan, Nicole Galas, Lauren Hill, Maureen Pawlak, Lauren Sinacola, Kristi Timar and Jenee Witherspoon.
Sophomore Michelle Telebar scored the first points of her career in the season opener, as she scored a goal in the 66th minute against Central Michigan. Freshman Lauren Hill added her first goal in the fourth minute at Western Michigan. Junior Breana Ballard notched her first two career assists in her 39th game on Aug. 25 and freshman Lauren Sinacola also added her first career point on an assist in the game. Freshman Megan Brown scored her first goal at Northwestern on Oct. 7.
A Titans Rule
With Sept. 12's 1-0 win, the Spartans have not lost a game against the Horizon League's Detroit since 1997, the longest ongoing stretch against an opponent. The Spartans are 7-0-1 against the Titans in that span.
The Spartans have a similar string of success against the Mid-American Conference's Bowling Green, with MSU having won six straight matches, including a 4-0 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005.
Ruling the MAC
Even with the slim 3-2 loss to Central Michigan on Aug. 25, the Spartans are 23-2-3 (.875) in their last 28 meetings with MAC opponents dating back to 1999.
A Hill of Awards
Freshman Lauren Hill wrapped up her first week as a member of Michigan State's women's soccer team by earning two weekly awards. On Aug. 28, she was announced as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for her four-goal game against Western Michigan. On Aug. 30, she was named SoccerTimes.com's Best of the Rest in the Web site's National Player of the Week awards.
Top of the Hill
Freshman Lauren Hill tied a mark that had not been equaled in 19 years as she tied the school record with four goals in a 4-2 win at Western Michigan. The only Spartan freshman to ever score four goals in a game, she did so in the first half. Hill scored two go-ahead goals in the contest, and she even had a goal waved off on an offsides call in the first half. She also assisted on a game-tying goal in a 3-2 loss to Central Michigan.