Monday, September 25, 2023

Women's soccer team drops another close one

Spartans lose 1-0 to Wisconsin, lose another player to injury

October 23, 2009

Freshman defensive midfielder Kelsey Kassab closes in on Wisconsin midfielder Leigh Williams during Friday afternoon’s game at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Badgers 1-0. Nick Miller/The State News

Photo by Nick Miller | The State News

The MSU women’s soccer team had plenty of chances Friday, but a defensive breakdown in the first half led the Spartans to another heartbreaking loss.

Wisconsin’s Paige Adams caught the MSU defense napping midway through the first half to score the game’s only goal, as the Spartans fell to the Badgers, 1-0, on a windy and rainy Friday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.

“The game was decided in the box at each end,” MSU head coach Tom Saxton said. “Wisconsin capitalized on a mistake on us and scored a great goal. I thought we did a good job putting pressure on them in the second part of the first half, and then down the stretch, but we didn’t get anything out of it.”

The Spartans (8-3-4 overall, 1-3-2 Big Ten) were at a disadvantage from the early going, playing without two starters — sophomore forward Laura Heyboer (ankle) and freshman midfielder Jordan Mueller (torn anterior cruciate ligament) — because of injury. Because of that, Saxton had to move different players to various positions, and the lack of cohesiveness showed in a couple of early missed opportunities.

The Spartans had two chances to grab an early lead against Wisconsin (7-5-2, 3-1-1), but couldn’t capitalize. Less than eight minutes into the match, an MSU corner kick landed in front of the net, but junior forward Cara Freeman’s shot was saved by Wisconsin goalkeeper Michele Dalton.

The Spartans had another opportunity later in the half, when freshman forward Olivia Stander took a pass from Freeman and found sophomore defender Katelin Chaklos open on the left side, but Chaklos’ right-footed shot sailed wide of the net.

Despite MSU getting the two good chances early, the Badgers took advantage of a defensive miscue in the 22nd minute. Adams, who was unmarked in the box, got the ball off a quick throw in on the left side of the field. Adams shook junior defender Courtney Shegos, and kicked the ball past diving sophomore goalkeeper Jill Flietstra at the 21:09 minute mark for the eventual game-winning goal.

“We kind of took a break when they got that throw in,” senior defender Megan Brown said. “They played it in right away and we weren’t ready. We didn’t play sound defense. We kind of dove in a little bit and it cost us.”

The Spartans had another opportunity late in the first half, when freshman forward Kori Reinhart took a pass from Chaklos and found sophomore midfielder Hannah Peterson in front of the net, but Peterson’s shot also sailed wide of the net.

MSU didn’t get any other good chances until late in the second half. Off a corner kick at the 84:38 minute mark, Brown passed to Peterson on the right side, but Peterson’s pass in front of the net was too high for Hill and the rest of the Spartans, as the ball rolled out of bounds.

“We made our opportunities. We got into the box and had those chances there — that’s not the issue,” Peterson said. “We got chances. We just couldn’t capitalize on them.”

All three of MSU’s losses have come during its past six games, a stretch in which the Spartans have only picked up one win.

Although yet another close loss — MSU’s other two losses during that stretch also have been by the score of 1-0 — is frustrating for the Spartans, Peterson said it just creates more motivation for the Spartans to get back on track against Minnesota at noon on Sunday at DeMartin Stadium.

“It was (another close loss), but we can’t concentrate on that,” Peterson said. “We’ve got to pick ourselves up, and it’s been tough, but we need to prepare for Sunday’s game. The only way to do that is to look forward and see what we have to prepare for.”

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