On Senior Day, MSU could only muster six shots at Illinois keeper Lindsey Carstens in a 1-0 loss Sunday at Old College Field.
Senior forward Ella Masar broke a scoreless tie in the 69th minute with a shot from the right side of the box that hit the inside far post. Masar also had two goals in the Fighting Illini’s 2-0 win over Michigan on Friday.
In an up-and-down season, this seems to be nothing new to MSU head coach Tom Saxton.
“It’s a similar story we’ve seen all year,” Saxton said.
“I thought we defended very well. We took a while to settle down on offense. They capitalized on our one defensive breakdown.”
The Spartans had a few chances, but faced tough defense from the Illini all game. In the 59th minute, sophomore forward Lauren Hill missed a header on a shot from the right. Hill had another chance later, on a clear shot from the right side, but the play was whistled offside before Hill could shoot.
It was an unfortunate ending for the 10 Spartan seniors who helped lead the team to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2005 and have seen the team plagued by inconsistency this season. After winning six of their first nine games, the Spartans have gone 2-8 since Sept. 28.
“It was an emotional day. This is the last time we’ll take the field with this combination of players,” Saxton said.
“They’ve all had their highs and lows. They’ve been part of the winningest team in school history and they’re great people.”
MSU will close out the regular season Friday at U-M.
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