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MSU field hockey shutout in 3-0 loss to rival Michigan, losing 4th straight

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It was a beautiful sunny April day in East Lansing when the Michigan state hockey team hosted No. 4 Michigan at Ralph Young Field. However, their in-state rivals spoiled the day, beating Michigan State 3-0.

The Wolverines came out hot and reached the lead early on through striker Sarah Pyrtek at 4:30 PM in the game.

U-of-M kept pushing for the remainder of the quarter, until the last few minutes when MSU finally managed to win a bit longer in the attacking half. Their game was highlighted by a handsome move by sophomore midfielder Merel Hanssen who went between the legs of a Michigan defender who drew some oohs and ahhs from friends and family in the crowd. However, she played it a little too hard and the ball rolled about 10 meters from the net outside the court.

For the last three-quarters of the game, everything was controlled by the Wolverines with a steady amount of shots on MSU’s starting goalkeeper Jade ArundellShe got on well with multiple saves, but Michigan was able to beat her twice more with a few goals in penalty corners.

The first came in the third quarter by midfielder Kayla Reed who was knocked off the far post after a deflection. The next came in the last quarter from midfielder Anouk Veen on a blast from the left circle. Arundell closed the afternoon with 11 stops.

“What we say to all of our goalkeepers is that you do your job, which is to make the simple saves as they happen and she did today,” said head coach Helen Knull after the game.

The Wolverines’ defensive showcase was impressive. It started with the fielders, who seemingly gobbled up like a vise every time the ball passed midfield. Starting goalkeeper Anna Spieker barely broke a sweat and saw no shot on goal, and only one shot attempt from defender Devin Reilly that went wide off the net in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines had 11 penalty corners while the Spartans had zero.

“Michigan is defensively strong, but I don’t think we have helped ourselves at times by the simple mistake of the ball,” said Knull. “Those are balls that we need to receive and to do something with.”

With the shutout loss, the Spartans have now gone four consecutive games without a goal. Their last goal was March 19 in a 5-2 loss against Penn State.

“I think we got some players to come up with defensively and performed well in our pressing, but again, if you want to win games, you have to score goals,” said Knull.

Michigan (6-2) and Michigan State (1-9) close the series on Sunday at 1:00 PM in East Lansing. Friday game is the only one that counts for the Big Ten standings.

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