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Women's soccer set to close out Big Ten Season
Michigan State concludes its Big Ten season at Northwestern.
Michigan State concludes its Big Ten season at Northwestern.

Oct. 28, 2011

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The Specifics

Michigan State (13-5-0, 6-4-0 Big Ten) will attempt to close out the Big Ten season with a victory at Northwestern (2-14-1, 1-8-1) on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. A win over the Wildcats could push Michigan State into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 3 seed. Northwestern is also the host of the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

A Look Back

Michigan State concluded its home schedule last weekend, with games against Penn State and Ohio State. The Spartans fell to No. 14 Penn State, 3-1, on Friday Oct. 21 but turned things around on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Ohio State. Friday's game pitted two of the league's most prolific offensive players- MSU's Laura Heyboer and PSU's Maya Hayes. Hayes entered the game as the leading goal scorer in both the Big Ten and NCAA with 21 goals, while Heyboer was third in the Big Ten and fourth nationally.

Heyboer put the Spartans on the board first with a goal in the 37th minute, her 17th goal of the season. MSU took a 1-0 lead into intermission. Hayed did strike in the 61st minute to even the score at one. Hayes added her second goal of the game in the 73rd minute and Maddy Evans scored just minutes later to seal the win for Penn State.

Michigan State took on Ohio State at DeMartin Stadium on senior day and beat the Buckeyes 2-0. The eleven Spartan seniors were honored in a brief pre-game ceremony. As a group, they recorded their 47th career victory, which is the most over a four-year span since the early part of the 1990's.

It was fitting that two MSU seniors netted goals to propel the Spartans to a win in their home finale. Laura Heyboer scored first for Michigan State and Hannah Peterson scored the game winner in the 75th minute. Senior Jill Flietstra added two saves in her eighth shutout of the season.



A Glance at the Wildcats

The Northwestern Wildcats have an overall record of 2-14-1 and have lost three consecutive games. The Wildcats most recent loss came at the hands of Iowa, 6-1. The Northwestern offense is lead by sophomore forward Kate Allen. She has five goals and 11 points this season. Freshman Anna Cassell has started 13 of 14 games in goal for the Wildcats and has a 2.06 goals against average and a .670 save percentage on the season.

A CLASS of Her Own

Senior forward was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in collegiate soccer. The prestigious accolade honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Heyboer not only makes an impact in the MSU community, but is a strong leader on the soccer field. At the beginning of the season, Heyboer broke two school records and is now MSU's leading career scorer with 57 goals and also leads in all-time points with 137. So far this season, the forward has notched 18 goals and seven assists for a total of 43 points.

Conference Statistics

Michigan State is currently tied for third in the Big Ten Conference standings with a 6-4-0 record and 18 points as of Oct. 23. The Spartans are third in overall standings with a 13-5-0 record.

Record Book Ascension

Laura Heyboer, Jill Flietstra and Olivia Stander are all making considerable strides in both the single season and career record books. Senior Laura Heyboer is the Michigan State career leader in points (137), goals (57) and game winning goals (19). She is also tied for first in career assists with 23.

Junior Olivia Stander is 14th in career points (54) and 13th in career goals (21). Stander holds the single season record for shots with 81 this season, thru Oct. 28.

Senior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra is the Spartan career leader in both goals against average (.76) and shutouts (27). She is also third in career wins (31), and career saves (277). Flietstra needs only one more shutout to tie the single season record of 12.

Tournament Implications

The Spartans are fighting for the No. 3seed in the Big Ten Tournament and are currently tied for that position with Wisconsin; the Badgers tangle with Iowa this weekend. Michigan State needs a win over Northwestern to stay in the hunt for that spot, as Wisconsin earned the victory in head-to-head action.

National Accolades

Senior forward Laura Heyboer ranks in the top 10 nationally in almost all offensive statistics for games played through Oct. 23. Heyboer ranks fourth in total points (43), fifth in game-winning goals (six), fourth in total goals (18), sixth in goals per game (1.0) and seventh in points per game (2.39).

Defensive Attitude

Senior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra is leading the Big Ten in many defensive categories. She is the conference's best in goals against average (.78) and in save percentage (.848). She also recorded her Big Ten best eighth shutout of the season against Ohio State at home last Sunday.

Flietstra is not the only Spartan that has raised her play on the defensive side. Four defenders have seen ample playing time during the Big Ten season; senior Katelin Chaklos, junior Kelsey Kassab, sophomore Annie Steinlage, and sophomore Kelsey Mullen have all played critical roles in keeping the Spartans among the top of the Big Ten in defensive statistics.

Dynamic Duo

The combination of forwards Laura Heyboer and Olivia Stander has accounted for 29 of the Spartans' 36 goals this season. Heyboer leads the team in goals and is third in the Big Ten, and recorded her 18th goal in a 2-0 win against Ohio State last weekend. Stander is second best on the team and fifth best in the conference with 11. Both Heyboer and Stander are near the top of the Big Ten in points and assists as well. Heyboer is third in the conference in total points (43) and Stander is sixth best in total points (31). Stander ranks fourth in the conference in assists (nine) while Heyboer comes in tied for sixth with seven. Both forwards continue to step up on the offensive side of the ball and are very dangerous for opposing teams while on the field together.

Big Ten Tournament

The Big Ten Tournament is being hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. at Lakeside Field on the shores of Lake Michigan. The tournament kicks off on Wednesday, Nov. 2 with match-ups between the top eight conference teams, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The semifinals on Nov. 4 will air live on the Big Ten Network. The championship match takes place on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. and will also air live on the Big Ten Network.

Next Up Following the weekend, Michigan State will begin play in the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill. on Nov. 2.


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