Field hockey hosts Senior Day against Penn State
Junior midfielder Kristen Henn passes the ball to a teammate Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 at Ralph Young Field. The Spartan field hockey team defeated Louisville 2-1 in overtime. Adam Toolin/The State News
The senior class of the MSU field hockey team will take their final steps on Ralph Young Field this Saturday as they play their last home game of the season.
The Spartans (10-8 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) end their season with a challenge, as they face No. 5 Penn State (14-3, 4-1).
The Nittany Lions come into East Lansing as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning 11 of their last 12 games.
Senior midfielder Christie Jones, a Pennsylvania native who has attended Penn State’s summer camps every year, knows what will be coming at the Spartans this weekend.
“I’m expecting them to be aggressive,” Jones said. “They’re always a good team, and they are coached really well.”
Penn State might walk in as a physical team, but head coach Helen Knull knows that the Spartans can’t overlook their speed.
“They’re just a very fast team,” Knull said. “Kelsey Amy, who is their leading scorer, she is lightning. She is the fastest (player in the Big Ten), if not in the country.”
Not only is Amy the Nittany Lions’ leading scorer with 21 goals, but she also is fifth in the nation in goal average with 1.31 goals per game.
The Spartans unquestionably face a tough challenge on Saturday, but they are a determined team coming off of a 2-1 victory against Central Michigan.
If beating a top Big Ten team wasn’t enough motivation for the Spartans, they also will be fighting to ensure the senior class walks out with a victory.
“Every year, the hope and goal is that you want the seniors to leave the game with a win and go out with a bang,” Knull said.
The defense will be led by junior goaltender and former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Molly Cassidy.
No matter who contributes, however, senior forward Chelsy Coil will be happy to see a victory for a few reasons.
“(A win) will be really important, because I want my last memory of regular season play to be on a good note,” Coil said. “And beating Penn State would be awesome, because they are such a good competitor.”
The season finale kicks off at noon on Saturday at Ralph Young Field.