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Women's soccer posts another shutout, 1-0, against Northwestern

October 17, 2010

Freshman midfielder Kelsey Mullen pushes the ball up the field against Northwestern. MSU defeated the Wildcats 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.

Photo by Josh Radtke | The State News

Team defense continues to carry the MSU women’s soccer team through the Big Ten schedule.

Behind a fifth consecutive shutout, MSU defeated Northwestern, 1-0, Sunday at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.

MSU (9-3-2 overall, 3-1-1 Big Ten) has not allowed a goal in the run of play since Sept. 5 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A penalty kick goal Sept. 26 at Penn State has been the only goal scored against MSU’s rigid backline since the 3-2 loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“We’ve stayed composed in tight games, and I think the defense has definitely won a lot of games for us,” junior goalkeeper Jill Flietstra said.

Flietstra now has 10 shutouts on the season and is two shy of tying the single-season record of 12, set by Nicole Galas in 2005.

MSU and Northwestern both started off strong defensively. The first offensive threat happened in the eighth minute, when Wildcat forward Kate Allen slipped through the box and looked to have an opportunity to score. Flietstra came up with a fairly routine save.

The first half ended with MSU taking five shots on goal to Northwestern’s three.

The second half began with junior forward Laura Heyboer taking a pass from sophomore forward Olivia Stander in the box, but Heyboer was called for a foul.

The Spartans and Wildcats traded shots on goal until the 77th minute, when MSU received consecutive corner kicks. Senior forward Cara Freeman took the second corner kick from junior midfielder Megan Pines and got a head on the ball to redirect it toward Stander’s foot, finishing the goal.

“The one thing we did well today is we created corners, that’s about the only advantage I’d give us,” head coach Tom Saxton said. “Olivia (Stander), by design, is supposed to cut in front of the keeper like that.

“You gotta give Cara (Freeman) credit for a great first touch and (Stander) did
her job.”

MSU held an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.

In the 82nd and 83rd minutes, Northwestern got two hard kicks at the goal, but Flietstra came up big with two of her six saves on the day.

MSU was able to pull through in a defensive dogfight.

“I’m pretty proud of the way that we dug down and got the goal at the end,” Heyboer said. “Northwestern, credit to them, they came out hard and they were very quick and very physical, but I’m just proud of our girls for weathering the storm and getting the win.”

Heyboer faced a tough individual battle after tying the school record for goals Thursday.

In MSU’s 2-0 win over Oakland on Thursday, Heyboer scored career goal numbers 38 and 39 and is tied with Michele Wise at the top of the MSU all-time scoring list.

“It’s something that I’m proud of, I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life,” she said. “My team and my coaches have helped me so much along the way that I can only give credit to them.”

Heyboer nearly rewrote the record book in the 39th minute with an apparent goal, but it was erased after the officials called an offsides penalty on the Spartans.

She was faced with a defensive marker almost the whole game, and the defense collapsed on her every time she touched the ball.

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Heyboer managed one shot, but also was called for two penalties, both in the box.

“In my opinion, the ref wasn’t letting us play a little bit,” she said. “We were both kind of physical back and forth so I thought that it should have been a fair play but (Wildcat defender Ally Arca) played me well.”

Saxton felt the team could have done a better job taking advantage of the defensive focus on Heyboer.

“We talked about it at the break in the first half and at the halftime about using that overplay to open up our other wing forwards, and we just didn’t do it as well as I would have liked to,” he said.


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