Following the loss of 10 seniors to graduation from the fall, MSU women’s soccer head coach Tom Saxton has announced the start of a new era by releasing the program’s spring schedule.
The Spartans open the spring with two games on the road on March 24 at an indoor facility in Ypsilanti, Mich. against Eastern Michigan and on March 31 against Oakland in Pontiac, Mich.
The home schedule kicks off with Michigan at 3 p.m. on April 7th and continues with Grand Valley State the following weekend. MSU will close out its spring schedule on the road on April 21 against Toledo.
The departure of forward Laura Heyboer — who was selected by Sky Blue FC on Jan. 13 in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft — along with goalie Jill Flietstra and defender Katelin Chaklos, among others in what Saxton has called the top recruiting class in program history, has left holes to fill across the board for the Spartans.
The team’s second-leading scorer of a season ago senior forward Olivia Stander likely will take a bigger role on offense while junior defender Annie Steinlage and senior defender Desiree Aber are forced to step up without Chaklos.
“We are excited to give our younger players the chance to step up this spring, and we have a lot to get done over these five games in order to lay the foundation for this fall,” Saxton said in a release from the athletics department.
“Our current freshmen will be a huge part of that foundation, and I know they are eager to prove themselves on the field. Lots of players will be filling new roles, and this will help that transition.”
For the fall season, the Spartans are likely to see contributions from a portion of the 10 members of Saxton’s 2012 recruiting class. The class includes midfielders Shelby Foit (Phoenix, Md.), Sarah Kovan (Okemos, Mich.), Kelli Timar (Novi, Mich.) and Jessica White (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.); forwards Erica Goodenough (DeWitt, Mich.) and Allyson Krause (Canton, Mich.); defenders Alexandra Gjonaj (Novi, Mich.), Caitlyn Riley (Williamstown, Mass.) and Shauna Stadelmaier (Midland, Mich.) along with goalkeeper Nicole Pond (Chesterfield, Va.)