Field hockey suffers loss to Pacific, looks to bounce back
Sophomore forward Allie Ahern runs with the ball. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 1-0, on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 at Ralph Young Field. Justin Wan/The State News
One team’s triumph is another team’s devastation, and that was the case Monday as the MSU field hockey team fell to Pacific, 3-2.
The No. 22 Spartans (6-6 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) surrendered three goals within a five-minute span late in the first half. The Tigers (4-8, 0-1 Big West) used that late first-half surge to give them their first victory in five games.
Tigers head coach Linda MacDonald said this was the team’s biggest win of the season and that it proved they do have the potential to beat anyone. MacDonald credits her team’s lockdown pressure for the road win.
“We put a lot of pressure (on MSU); it looked like Michigan State had some difficulty with their execution today just moving the ball, and we were on them the whole game,” MacDonald said.
Spartans head coach Helen Knull, who was visibly upset, as well as the rest of the team, deemed this game the most disappointing loss of the season. The team struggled to take accurate shots, only putting seven of their 21 shots on net. The offense almost closed the gap numerous times with 14 second-half shots, including one by sophomore midfielder Becky Stiles that hit the post.
Knull credits the Tigers for their performance, but also said that the team lost its focus against a nonconference opponent.
“Biggest thing for us right now is that we need to come prepared for every game — doesn’t matter the opponent or if it’s Big Ten or non-Big Ten,” Knull said.
The Spartans were the first to strike with a goal by sophomore forward Allie Ahern 20 minutes into the game. The Tigers then brought an attack late in the first half that generated three goals in five minutes, two coming off of rebounds.
Sophomore forward Abby Barker scored the second goal for the Spartans, her 11th of the season, with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, but it wasn’t enough to cement a comeback.
With this loss, the Spartans will most likely take a hit in the national rankings, and Knull also is concerned about the impact this will have on postseason tournaments.
“Every game counts, especially for regional standings and a postseason perspective.” Knull said.
The Spartans look to bounce back and earn their second Big Ten win when they take on Ohio State at 3 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio.