Field hockey halts two-game losing streak, readies for Pacific
Sophomore forward Abby Barker runs and hugs sophomore midfielder Heather Howie, 7, after the Spartans scored their only point against Northeastern during Sunday’s game on Sept. 9, 2012 at Ralph Young Field. The Spartans lost 3-1. Julia Nagy/The State News
The No. 24 MSU field hockey team (6-5 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) ended their two-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory that displayed an offensive attack that has been absent in previous games.
MSU had 14 shots to Indiana’s 11, and also had seven corner opportunities to their five. Sophomore forward Abby Barker said that it was the Spartans’ defense that helped give them the offensive advantage.
“Our press was awesome; we were all stepping up as one unit and got a lot of turnovers, and that led to more offensive opportunities and shots in the circle,” Barker said.
Although the Spartans failed to score on their corner opportunities, head coach Helen Knull said the team did a “great job” after a solid week of practice.
“Last week, before Iowa and Duke, we did not practice well and I think that showed in the games,” Knull said. “This week we had a great practice; we were focused and that also showed in the game today.”
The Spartans were led by Barker, who scored two second-half goals, and senior forward Jessica Lindner, who scored the first goal 19 minutes into the game. Knull also said that the contribution from the whole team drove the Spartans to their first Big Ten victory on the season.
“The contribution from everybody that was here, whether it was five minutes, 70 minutes (of playing time) or just the energy from the bench, it was huge,” Knull said.
With the weekend in the rearview mirror, the Spartans look to carry some of the momentum created against the Hoosiers when they battle Pacific at 12 p.m. on Monday at Ralph Young Field.
The Spartans, whose schedule alternates between conference and nonconference games, are looking to focus for this game just as they would any other.
“We need to treat this like any other game and go in with the mentality that they are looking to beat us, and we are going to give it all we got and also prepare for the upcoming games we have,” Barker said.
Pacific, which has lost its last five games, is playing MSU for the first time since 2010, where the Spartans won 10-0. Knull acknowledges the merits of the opponent ahead, but maintains cautiousness in overlooking them in the thick of Big Ten season.
“I’ve known they have had a struggle to the start of their season, but I think at this level, our season is short, so we are fighting game to game and trying to focus,” Knull said.