A Big Ten Tournament berth still isn’t out of the question, but after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Ohio State, the MSU women’s soccer team has serious work to do in the final five games of the season.
The Spartans (7-5-2 overall, 1-5-0 Big Ten) were once again outshot, 21-6, and the Buckeyes (8-3-3, 2-2-2) took full advantage. MSU currently ranks last in the conference in shots.
Ohio State got on the board in the 38th minute when Buckeye midfielder Ellyn Gruber headed one from eight yards off a cross from forward Nichelle Prince.
Junior goalkeeper Courtney Clem got the start in the game after winning the job in practice this week against sophomore goalkeeper Gabrielle Gauruder. Gauruder had been in net for the last game and a half against Michigan and Iowa because of Clem’s inconsistency in goal.
Clem kept the deficit at one for much of the game, but once again found trouble as the game neared the end.
Prince got one past Clem in the 71st minute. Although Clem got a hand on it, she couldn’t quite stop Prince’s seventh goal of the season. Prince, a freshman, moved into a tie for fourth place of the conference lead with the goal.
MSU got back into the game when sophomore midfielder Kirsten Evans found junior defender/midfielder Nicole Caruso at about 18 yards out at the top of the box in the 75th minute.
However, the Buckeyes tacked on an insurance goal to cap it off in the 79th minute.
Ohio State forward Michela Paradiso finished from the right wing and got it past Clem toward the far post.
After allowing three goals, head coach Tom Saxton made the move to replace Clem with Gauruder. Gauruder made one save in the final nine minutes of the game.
The Spartans sit five points out of eighth place in the conference. Eight teams make the Big Ten Tournament.
MSU will return to East Lansing next weekend against Purdue (8-5-1, 3-3-0) on Friday.
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