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Women's soccer sees season end on senior day

November 1, 2013
	<p>Penn State forward Raquel Rodriguez runs the ball past junior midfielder Megan Marsack Nov. 1, 2013, at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field. <span class="caps">MSU</span> lost to Penn State, 3-0. Margaux Forster/The State News</p>

Penn State forward Raquel Rodriguez runs the ball past junior midfielder Megan Marsack Nov. 1, 2013, at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field. MSU lost to Penn State, 3-0. Margaux Forster/The State News

In the final game of the season, the MSU women’s soccer team was unable to upset No. 22 Penn State, as the Nittany Lions came away with the 3-0 victory on the back of Maya Hayes’ two goals.

Penn State (13-5-1 overall, 7-4 Big Ten) derailed the Spartans (9-8-2 overall, 3-8 Big Ten) on senior day at DeMartin Stadium when they honored lone senior and MSU defender Kelsey Mullen.

Mullen injured her knee in early October and missed four games prior to Friday, but head coach Tom Saxton was determined Mullen would play her final game in a Spartan game. Mullen played five minutes at the start of each half.

“Kelsey has been one of the great Spartans ever,” Saxton said. “It was nice to put her out on the field after a disappointing injury three weeks ago.”

The Nittany Lions got on the board early in the game when they received a penalty kick and Penn State midfield/forward Raquel Rodriguez knocked it past junior goalkeeper Courtney Clem in the 11th minute.

Penn State controlled much of the play in the first half. Toward the end of the half, the Spartans had a dangerous run with good scoring opportunities, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

On the game, Penn State had 24 shots, 12 of which were on goal. MSU only had five shots and one shot on goal.

“We came out a little sluggish, there’s a lot of hype around Penn State being the defending national runner-ups,” Saxton said. “I was disappointed with our transition offense in the first half but once again the bench came at the end of the first half and got us back in the flow of the game and at 1-0 at halftime, I really thought we could get back in the game.”

However, Penn State forward Maya Hayes scored two goals to give the Nittany Lions the win. The two goals marked Hayes’ 18th and 19th goals of the season, which puts her second in the Big Ten and third in the nation.

Hayes’ first goal came in the 54th minute when a ball got loose inside the goalie box and junior goalkeeper Courtney Clem couldn’t get possession and Hayes found the back of the net.

Hayes also scored in the 69th minute of the game.

“Credit to Penn State, they took advantage of a bad pass out of our end and they made it 2-0 and it got tough after that,” Saxton said. “… All-in-all the best team won today.”

Although MSU failed to make the Big Ten Tournament for the second consecutive year, the Spartans will get have a much more experienced team next year. This year, MSU had they youngest team in 25 years with only six upperclassmen. The Spartans’ top three goal scorers — sophomore forward Allyson Krause, sophomore defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz and sophomore forward Rachel Van Poppelen — also will have two more years of eligibility.

“That disappointed all of us because that’s what we were playing for down the stretch,” Saxton said about not making the Big Ten Tournament. “Nothing to be ashamed of to get nine wins against the schedule we played against. We’re just one or two results going the way from being in the middle of the pack in the big ten. It’s a game of inches, and hopefully our young players will get better with this experience.”

A recurring theme for the Spartans this season was the inability to finish at key moments in the game. With much of the team returning next year, Krause said the will need to continue to work on finishing.

Next season, MSU also will get back two key contributors who missed much of this season. Junior midfielder/forward Lisa Vogel missed most of the season after injuring her knee in the second game of the season against Milwaukee. Redshirt freshman Jessica White also hurt her leg 11 games into the season. Both players also missed much of last season as well with leg injuries.

“I would definitely say finishing, that killed us a lot this year, because obviously we didn’t score as many goals as we wanted to,” Krause said. “Lisa (Vogel) has played with a lot of the players on this team with (the) Michigan Hawks (club soccer team), so I feel like we will be able to string passes together a lot more and Jessie White is great on attacking, she’s like an energizing bunny, she doesn’t stop running and gives all her effort.”

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