After sinking career goal No. 39 on Oct. 15 against Oakland, junior forward Laura Heyboer said she was unaware that she had just made MSU women’s soccer history.
In just her junior year, the Hudsonville, Mich., native is in a first place tie for the school’s all-time scoring record.
“It’s pretty cool,” Heyboer said. “It’s special to be a part of, and just to say I’m a part of Spartan history in that way is cool. I don’t think there’s really any other word to describe it.
“I’m proud to be a Spartan.”
Although Heyboer was a great player coming out of high school, being the only player in state history to win Miss Michigan Soccer and Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year twice, she said she never imagined she’d be first in the record books.
“When I came in here, I had no idea what to expect and I guess that, seeing that I could accomplish things like this is something really cool and it shows the work I’ve done in the past has paid off,” she said.
However, Spartan head coach Tom Saxton said he knew the success Heyboer would bring to the team during her four-year career.
“We definitely knew she would be a program-changer for us, and coupled with (junior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra), we knew we had very significant additions to our program, along with the great class they came in with,” Saxton said.
“If not our best recruiting class in the history of our program, it’s got to be one of them.”
To date, Heyboer has been a two-time All-American, two-time All-Big Ten first selection and, in 2008, became the first player in conference history to win Big Ten Offensive Player and Big Ten Freshman of the Year in the same season.
With her 10th goal in 2010, she is on the verge of bumping record-holder Michele Wise to second place. Wise played from 1986-89, when Saxton served as an assistant coach for the program.
“Michele was a great player and, like Laura, just a natural goal scorer,” Saxton said. “In those days, women’s soccer was in its infancy and we had a very good team right off the bat because we had such a good club tradition that Michele and many of the players in that era had come out of.
“Michele, a lot like Laura, was very good at capitalizing at good team play and build up.”
With Heyboer being a junior, she likely will not only beat the record, but shatter it. Although she wants nothing to do with being called the best offensive player to come through MSU, her coach said she is well beyond just the best in the program.
“I’m very proud of her and I think it’s very significant that somebody can do that with so much of their career left, yet having said that, I’m not surprised because she’s one of the most prolific scorers in girl’s soccer history, not only in the state but nationwide,” Saxton said.
Heyboer’s first chance to take sole possession of first place will come this weekend, when the team plays two road games against Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Like Heyboer, Flietstra can make Spartan history this weekend. The junior goalkeeper has 11 shutouts, one shy of tying the MSU single-season shutout record.
Both insist that once game time rolls around, records won’t cross their minds.
“If our whole team’s defense continues to play as they’ve been playing, I think I can get there, but it’s in the back of my mind,” Flietstra said. “I’m just looking to win games, and I think our whole team should get credit for shutouts.”
Despite having 11 shutouts and a 9-3-2 overall record, 3-1-1 in the Big Ten, the team still has a lot of work to do and it starts again this weekend, Heyboer said.
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“We have to win our road games, especially this weekend,” she said.
“We have huge weekends coming up and I think that as a team, our focus right now is being the best in the Big Ten and we’re going to give everything we have to do that this weekend.”
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