The tides turned for MSU on Thursday afternoon, as the Spartans finally won a game decided in the last-minute, rallying for a 2-1 victory over Ohio State.
In the game’s final minute, OSU (5-8-2 overall, 2-6-1 Big Ten) tied the game at one on a penalty kick goal from senior forward Kayla Varner. MSU (9-5-1 overall, 3-5-1 Big Ten) had led for the game’s entirety, and the late OSU goal was a heartbreaker for the Spartans.
“It really crushed us,” senior midfielder Paige Wester said. “You work that hard and they score with 50 seconds left—it’s hard to come back and try to get another goal.”
MSU bounced right back, and Wester scored the game winner on a header with 27 seconds left. Freshman forward Jamie Cheslik assisted the goal with a well-placed cross.
“It was a nice goal,” Wester said. “I was glad to not go into overtime.”
Head coach Tom Saxton was pleased with the way his team responded to the late goal from the Buckeyes.
“Nicky Caruso went right forward and kept the ball alive that led to the sequence that scored the goal,” Saxton said. “I was already thinking with 50 seconds on the clock what personnel are we going to use and what are we going to do to give ourselves a chance, should we go to overtime. They made that null and void.”
MSU carried a lead throughout the game, after racing out to a 1-0 advantage just 58 seconds into the game.
Junior forward Allyson Krause knocked in a goal off of a rebounded shot from senior midfielder Paige Wester, for what ended up tied for the fastest goal scored in the Big Ten this year. It was Krause’s fourth goal of the year.
It also marked the third straight game in which the Spartans scored first. Saxton thought the early goal “set up a weird situation” for the rest of the first half.
“I think they were ready to play today,” Saxton said of his team. “We almost surprised ourselves with scoring in the first minute. I think that might have led to a bit of impatience for the next half hour in our attack. I think they thought that they could just charge through them (the Buckeyes).”
The Buckeyes kept it close the rest of the game, but MSU also missed out on a few great scoring chances.
In the 17th minute, MSU had an opportunity to extend its lead when freshman forward Jamie Cheslik sent a cross to Krause, who then fired a shot. This time, Krause’s shot failed to reach the back of the net, and it bounced off of the left post.
In the 40th minute, freshman midfielder Kristelle Yewah bodied her way into the OSU penalty box, taking out the Buckeye defenders in her path. She sent a rocket just wide right of the goal, in what was a great display of athleticism and physicality.
MSU’s win was very important, as they gained separation from the Buckeyes and moved up in the conference standings.
“We needed this game,” Saxton said. “We’re in the chase, head to head with a team like Ohio State.”
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