Saturday, December 3, 2022

Defender Brown Spartans' 'unsung hero'

November 4, 2009

Senior defender Megan Brown dribbles toward oncoming defenders during the Spartans’ Oct. 11 game against Michigan. The Spartans and Wolverines played to a scoreless tie.

Photo by Georgia Rhodes | The State News

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series this week highlighting the women’s soccer seniors.

Forwards score goals, midfielders rack up assists and goalkeepers corral saves.

But for defenders, there are no statistics to decipher between the good, the better and the best.

In the case of Megan Brown, a senior defender for the MSU women’s soccer team, it’s how she has carried herself both on and off the soccer field during her time in East Lansing that sets her apart from her peers.

“She’s such an intelligent player and plays with such passion and, quite frankly, is an undersized player for a Big Ten defender and yet gets the job done,” head coach Tom Saxton said.

“Honestly, the thing that sticks in my mind is she’s an unsung hero, she really is.”

Brown and the rest of the seniors will be honored before MSU’s regular season finale at noon Sunday against Ohio State at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.

Brown came to MSU from Portage Central High School as a midfielder, but moved to a defensive position entering her junior year.

Since then, Saxton said Brown has made “quite a difference” for the Spartans, who are 24-11-6 the last two seasons, in which Brown has started every game.

She’s also part of a MSU defense, which has given up just 17 goals this year (MSU has scored 30), and allowed 214 shots — nearly 50 fewer than the 261 the Spartans have put up.

And although Brown has contributed to those numbers with her soccer skills, her smarts — both soccer and otherwise — also have made her a key leader for the Spartans.

“She sets a great example. She’s been our scholar-athlete the last couple years, I think you’ll see her going on to med school, and she embodies what a student-athlete is all about,” Saxton said.

“She genuinely has a full grasp of what being a team is, and she sets a great example in regards to that.”

A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Brown will graduate in May with a degree in human biology.

She’s in the process of applying for med school — some of her interviews begin next week — and hopes to continue at MSU as she studies to become a pediatrician.

With med school taking up most of her time the next few years, Brown admits she won’t have much free time to continue being involved with soccer, which has been a big part of her life for the past 16 or 17 years.

Still, there always will be time for the players she spent the last four seasons with.

“The biggest thing that I’ll leave Michigan State with is the sense of family and the relationships that we’ve developed,” Brown said.

“The relationships I’ve built with the coaches and the players will be something that I take with me long past the time where you can remember the wins and the losses.”

Before the time comes when wins, losses and statistics don’t mean anything to those on the 2009 Spartan team, there still is one more regular season game to be played, and a potential NCAA Tournament berth to be earned.

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And, at least one more game for an “unsung hero” to perhaps get the credit a teammate believes Brown has earned and deserves.

“She’s always trying to play her best, she’s always trying to raise the intensity and be a leader by example, and I think that’s a big leadership role she has to play,” senior forward Lauren Hill said.

“You do say she’s the unsung hero — I totally agree with that — but I think she should have gotten more credit because she is a very, very talented player and a very genuine person, and give her credit for that, as well.”

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