Field hockey team defeats Ohio opponents
Junior midfielder Katherine Jamieson, No. 14, moves ahead with Iowa midfielders and backs Jessica Barnett next to her. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 1-0, on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 at Ralph Young Field. Justin Wan/The State News
Last Monday, the MSU field hockey team sat in its huddle after a 3-2 loss against Pacific feeling disappointed and angry.
This Monday, the Spartans (8-6 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) will be fresh off of an excited and happy bus ride after dominating the state of Ohio.
The Spartans kicked off the weekend against No. 16 Ohio State (9-5, 1-2) looking for a crucial win to bring them to 2-1 in the Big Ten.
That goal was the only one the fans would see the whole game, as junior goaltender Molly Cassidy and the Spartans held on to win in a 1-0 shutout. Cassidy’s three saves in the game were enough to give her the 10th shutout in her career, and head coach Helen Knull noticed the change in Cassidy’s game.
“(Cassidy) got back to playing simple hockey strategy, which is keeping the ball out of the net,” Knull said, after mentioning that Cassidy was possibly overthinking in previous games.
It was a vital victory, as the Spartans were looking to avenge a lackluster loss to Pacific and possible damage to their postseason tournament plans.
The weekend, however, was not over, as the Spartans stayed in Ohio to take on Ohio University on Sunday.
The Bobcats, while in the MAC, are a gritty team that came off of a 3-2 victory over previously No. 15 Wake Forest just a week before their match against MSU. The aggressiveness Knull expected from the Bobcats held the Spartans to zero goals in regulation, but another stand-out performance by Cassidy forced the game into overtime.
In overtime, it was déjà vu for MSU, as Ahern netted a goal just three minutes into overtime. Sophomore forward Abby Barker was on the assist after running the ball 50 yards downfield to set up the game-winning goal.
After leaving Ohio, the Spartans now are focusing on a key game against No. 15 Michigan (5-7, 0-2) at 3 p.m. Friday in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans head into the rivalry game looking for payback after a suffering a 2-0 loss last season. Knull said even though Michigan is a tough opponent, the team will be ready for the big game.
“Every game against Michigan is a battle, and I think we are mentally and physically prepared for it,” Knull said.