Nov. 1, 2011
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Michigan State (14-5-0, 7-4-0 Big Ten) begins the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday, tangling with sixth-seeded Iowa. The Women's Tournament is back after a two-year hiatus.
Northwestern serves as the 2011 Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament host at Lakeside Field in Evanston. The top seven teams in the Big Ten regular-season standings, plus the host Wildcats, will compete for the Big Ten's automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
First -round games begin on Wednesday morning at 11:30 eastern; games will follow at 2:30., 5:30, and 8:30 p.m. Friday semifinals are scheduled for 2:15 and 4:45 p.m., and Sunday's championship will kick off at 4 p.m.
The Big Ten Network will broadcast live from the semifinals and championship matches, while the Big Ten Digital Network will provide a live webstream from Wednesday's quarterfinal matches; those webstreams are available in MSU's All-Access player at www.msuspartans.com.
Gametracker will be available for all games, and fans may also follow the Big Ten Championship twitter at @bigtenchamps, which will be updated throughout the tournament.
Michigan State has qualified for the Big Ten Tournament for the 12th time in 16 seasons in which it was held. (The Tournament returns in 2011after a two-year hiatus.) This is MSU's second time as the third seed, going 1-1 in 2005. The Spartans are 2-11-0 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, with the wins coming in 1994 and 2005.
The Spartans and the Hawkeyes have never met in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa is 0-5-0 all-time in the event.
Four Spartans earned postseason All-Big Ten honors, as announced by the Conference office on Tuesday afternoon. Laura Heyboer and Annie Steinlage each earned First Team honors at their positions, Jordan Mueller was a Second Team pick, and Katelin Chaklos was the Sportsmanship Award winner.
Laura Heyboer was named First Team All-Big Ten for the fourth time, and is one of five athletes all-time in the sport to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors four times in her career. The others are Jennifer McElmury of Minnesota (MF, 1994-95-96-97), and Penn State's Rachel Hoffman (F, 1994-95-96-97), Christie Welch (F, 1999-2000-01-02), and Joanna Lohman (MF, 2000-01-02-03.)
Michigan State completed the regular season with a 14-5-0 overall record, with a 7-4-0 mark in Big Ten play. MSU comes into the Tournament with wins in four of its last five games.
Laura Heyboer is the team's leading scorer with 18 goals and nine assists on the season, and has led the team in scoring in each of her four varsity seasons. Junior Olivia Stander is a three-year starter who owns a 11-9-31 scoring line this season, and senior Hannah Peterson has come on as a significant offensive producer late in the season (4-5-13). The Spartan defense is anchored by senior Jill Flietstra, who owns a Big Ten-best 0.74 GAA and .852 save percentage. Flietstra's strong efforts are aided by a backfield featuring senior Katelin Chaklos, junior Kelsey Kassab, and a pair of sophomores (Annie Steinlege and Kelsey Mullen). MSU's defensive unit has allowed 16 goals this season, tied with league champion Penn State for the fewest in the league.
Iowa has enjoyed the most successful regular season in program history. The Hawkeyes are 13-4-2 overall with a 5-4-2 record in league play and finished tied for fifth with Minnesota in the standings. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the 2011 squad has set or equaled eight team records, including most victories (13), best winning percentage (.737) most home victories (7), fewest defeats (4), longest winning streak (8), longest unbeaten streak (11), fewest goals allowed (17) and best goals scored against average (0.87).
Freshman Cloe Lacasse is the team's leading scorer, with a 12-6-30 scoring line; Leah DeMoss has contributed eight goals and 16 points, while Alex Melin and Dana Dalrymple are tied with 5-3-13 contributions. Iowa's defense has played a major role in the team's success this season, allowing just 17 goals and boasting a 0.89 goals allowed average and seven shutouts. Emily Moran has been the keeper of record in each of those contests, earning six shutouts and boasting an 0.81 GAA and .838 save percentage.
The Spartans are 8-4-3 all-time against the Hawkeyes, and had a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) against the Hawkeyes snapped with the 1-0 loss in Iowa City earlier this season.
These teams met on Oct. 2 in Iowa City. Michigan State dropped a tough 1-0 decision,, as a Hawkeye goal in the eighth minute stood up as the game-winner. MSU suffered its third defeat of the season in the contest.
Alyssa Cosnek started the play, pushing the ball up the field and dishing to Cloe Lacasse. Lacasse crossed the ball from 20 yards out, and Dana Dalrymple was able to finish it off from five yards.
The Spartans were able to generate some chances, launching 20 shots (nine on net) in the contest. Laura Heyboer, the nation's leading scorer going into the game, was limited to just one shot on net during the contest. Olivia Stander led the Spartans with four shots.
Both keepers had busy afternoons - Jill Flietstra made eight saves in the Spartan end, while Emily Moran also made eight saves for the host Hawkeyes .
The team statistics from the match were incredibly even - both teams had 11 fouls and nine shots on net, and each finished with four corner kicks. Iowa held a 20-15 edge in shots overall.
Michigan State won seven games in Big Ten regular season play, the most Big Ten wins in program history. MSU finished third in the Big Ten standings behind Penn State and Illinois. Overall, MSU's 14 wins is tied with Illinois for the second-highest total in the Big Ten behind the Nittany Lions (17)..
This is the third time in four seasons that the Spartans will win 11 or more games, and also the third time in four years that the team will be .500 or better in the Big Ten Conference. Over the last four years, MSU is 48-23-11 overall.
MSU won a program-best seven games in the Big Ten regular season. The Spartans won six Big Ten games in 2005, its previous best. MSU's 14 victories is also second-best in program history, and the Spartans have won 14 games six times, most recently in 2008. The Spartans have a chance to match or better the program's single-season high of 15 victories set in 1986, the program's inaugrual varsity season.
Three of MSU's five losses came to teams in the RPI top 40 - No. 11 Penn State (3-1), No. 21 Milwaukee (3-2), and No. 32 Illinois (1-0 in 2OT). Four of MSU's five losses came by a goal, and one was in double overtime. The combined record of the teams which have defeated MSU is 70-19-6 (.768).
The Spartans went 7-1-0 in games away from DeMartin Stadium this season (5-1 on the road, 2-0 in neutral-site games).
MSU went 7-1 in non-conference play, with its only blemish to No. 21 Milwaukee in the season opener, 3-2. MSU outscored non-conference competition 20-7.
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 (139), goals (57), assists (25) and game winning goals (19).
Junior Olivia Stander is 13th in career points (58) and 13th in career goals (22). Stander holds the single season record for shots with 84 this season, thru Oct. 31. Her 31 points this season is ninth-best on the single-season list, while Heyboer's 45 is fourth all-time (and six short of her career-best 51, scored as a freshman).
Senior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra is the Spartan career leader in both goals against average (.75) and shutouts (28). She is also second in career wins (32), and third in career saves (279).
Laura Heyboer and Jill Flietstra will not only graduate as two of the most decorated players in MSU history, but will also both leave their marks in the Big Ten annals as well. Through regular-season play, Heyboer ranks fourth in career goals (57), fourth in career points (139), and fourth in career game-winning tallies (19). Flietstra is fourth in career goals against average (0.75) and career shutouts (28)
Heyboer's current season totals are also among the Big Ten's all-time best. Her 18 goals is tied for 10th all-time (her 21 as a freshman ranks sixth), and her 45 points is 11th (the 51 she had her freshman season is now seventh).
This Big Ten season has seen a three-horse race for the scoring title, between Penn State's Maya Hayes, Nebraska's Morgan Marlboro, and Heyboer. All three have posted among the best single-season performances in Big Ten history. Hayes finished the season with 25 goals and 51 points, Marlborough with 20 goals and 46 points, and Heyboer has 18 and nine assists to her credit. All three goal totals are among the all-time top 10 in the Big Ten annals (Hayes is tied for fourth, Marlboro tied sixth, and Heyboer 10th) , and their point totals are among the top 11 single-season performances all-time as well - Hayes fifth, Marlboro 10th, and Heyboer a point behind in 11th.
Marlborough's season at Nebraska has come to an end, with the Huskers failing to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, so Heyboer will have a chance to move ahead of her before her season is completed. .
Senior forward Laura Heyboer ranks in the top 10 nationally in almost all offensive statistics for games played through Oct. 30. Heyboer ranks fifth in total points (45), 10th in game-winning goals (six), fourth in total goals (18), sixth in goals per game (0.947) and seventh in points per game (2.37).
Senior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra is leading the Big Ten in many defensive categories. She is the conference's best in goals against average (.74) and in save percentage (.8528). She recorded back-to-back shutouts in the last two games of the season to give her a Big Ten best nine.
The combination of forwards Laura Heyboer and Olivia Stander has scored 29 of the Spartans' 38 goals this season.
Heyboer has at least one point in 16 of MSU's 19 games this season. She has only been held off the board against Iowa and Illinois (both 1-0 losses), and at Indiana in the 2-1 overtime victory. Stander has points in 11 of the 19 MSU games.
Senior Hannah Peterson has emerged as one of MSU's hottest scorers over the final quarter of the season. Over the last five games, Peterson has three goals and an assist, held off the board only in the 3-1 loss to Penn State. Two of her goals during this stretch have been the game-winners -against Ohio State, and the dramatic overtime game-winner over Indiana (2-1).
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.
Heyboer is a three-time All-American, and with the numbers she has posted as a senior, it would be hard for her to not earn the honor a fourth time this fall. She would become the first female athlete to earn four All-America honors in the same sport in Michigan State history, and join former Spartan wrestlers Nick Simmons (2003, 2005-07) and Pat Milkovich (1972, 1974-76) as the only three to accomplish the feat.
Senior forward Laura Heyboer and senior keeper Jill Flietstra are lifelong friends, as they both grew up and played soccer together at all levels in their hometown of Hudsonville, Mich. From their memories, their first meeting was building a snowman. Nearly 17 years later, the duo has won multiple championships at different levels of soccer throughout their youth, and over the past four season have helped MSU soccer to perhaps the most successful era in program history.
Michigan State will await word of the selections for the 2011 NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup. The 64 selections and the NCAA Tournament schedule will be announced at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7.