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Spartans head to Michigan, Rutgers for final regular season races

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EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State women’s soccer heads back out this week for their final away games of the regular season. They take on Michigan in Ann Arbor on Thursday, October 14, before heading to Piscataway, New Jersey to play Rutgers on Sunday, October 17.

The Spartans have an overall record of 9-1-3 and a score of 4-1-2 in Big Ten play, finishing third in the league, just over halfway through the conference season.

LAST TIME OFF

The Green & White took a nail-biter from Ohio State at home on Sunday for their fourth conference win of the season.

As the game was held scoreless in the first 80 minutes of the game, the Spartans were finally able to take advantage. Lauren DeBeau came on the attack, dribbled down the sideline to take a long shot attempt between two defending Buckeyes, sending the ball into the top right corner of the net in front of the goal.

With a 1-0 lead, Michigan State entered a defensive danger zone. Ohio State earned a handball penalty in the 85e minute. Buckeye’s shot went low and to the right, and MSU goalkeeper Lauren Kozal was there for the rescue, dashing hopes for an Ohio State equalizer. The regulation game ended two minutes later to secure the Spartan victory.

CHOOSE B1G TIME

Spartan goalkeeper Lauren Kozal has now been named the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week twice this season.

Kozal won her sixth shutout of the year against the Buckeyes on Sunday. With four saves recorded by the redshirt junior, each was key to Michigan State’s 1-0 victory. Kozal made the save on the late game Ohio State penalty kick, diving low and to the right to follow the strike and landing on the ball, ending Buckeye’s hopes for a last-minute equalizing goal.

Kozal sits atop several leadership categories in both Big Ten and NCAA goalkeepers. She has the highest save rate (.862) of any Big Ten goalkeeper, the 25th best in the NCAA. She has 3.85 saves per game and has scored just eight goals against opponents this season for a goals-to-average of 0.585. She is tied for 20th for the most shutouts of all NCAA Division I goalkeepers.

Michigan State ranks 25th in the NCAA in goals allowed, allowing fewer than ten opponent goals while scoring 23 themselves.

Quote COACH HOSLER
On the progress the team has seen during Big Ten play: “The staff has been throwing a lot on this group from week to week and they’ve done a fantastic job processing everything and then executing it on match day. We’ve developed different ways of attacking and finding a balanced score. Great improvement in our wing game, while still looking for more success attacking set pieces.”

About the challenges ahead: “Back-to-back road games are tough, but we’ll draw on our recent success in that extended trip to Nebraska and Iowa. The maturity and drive of this group will serve us well. We need to hunt this week. Be the aggressor, win our individual battles and be prepared to execute key moments.”

About opponents Michigan and Rutgers: “Both sides have a lot of talent in their roster and have a good understanding of the role of highly disciplined teams. We will have to be at our best to stay in the race for a Big Ten title.”

EXPLORE THE WOLVERINS

Michigan has a 9-2-3 record and is 3-1-2 in conference play. Led by Head Coach Jennifer Klein, they hope to improve from last season’s 5-3-3 record.

Nicki Hernandez and Raleigh Loughman match the Wolverines with five goals each, Loughman with a total of four assists while Hernandez has two. Goalkeeper Hillary Beall played most of the minutes for the team, making 50 saves while conceding 12 goals for a save percentage of 0.806.

Michigan State is 13-15-7 all-time against the Wolverines. The Spartans took their last rivalry victory in 2017.

EXPLORE THE SCARLETTE KNIGHTS

With Mike O’Neill at the helm in his eighth season, Rutgers sits at the top of the Big Ten with an 11-2 record overall, 6-0 in Big Ten competition. The Spartans hope to break Scarlet Knight’s winning streak, both this season and historically, as Rutgers is 8-0 against MSU of all time.

Frankie Tagliaferri leads the Scarlet Knights with ten goals and six assists this season. Goalkeeper Meagan McClelland has made 35 saves with 10 goals.

NEXT ONE

After this week’s games, the Spartans will return to DeMartin Stadium to play their last two games of the regular season at home against Maryland and Penn State. The October 21 game against Maryland will air on the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m.

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