The foot of a Spartan senior kicked things off for MSU against No. 11 Penn State, but it was the head of a freshman Nittany Lion that spoiled MSU’s last home game this season.
Penn State (14-2 overall, 9-1 Big Ten) defeated MSU (8-6-1 overall, 2-6-1 Big Ten) on senior day, 2-1. Freshman defender Elizabeth Ball sent a header past redshirt senior goalkeeper Courtney Clem in the 69th minute. It ended a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game winning goal.
It also ended a three game winning streak for the Spartans.
MSU senior midfielder Megan Marsack scored the game’s first goal, beating the PSU keeper one on one from five yards out. The goal came in the 20th minute, and it was the fourth consecutive time that the Spartans scored first.
“We came out with good fight,” Marsack said. “It’s nice scoring, leaving with a good note on this field.”
MSU head coach Tom Saxton was pleased to see Marsack put one through on senior day.
“She’s so dangerous in her moments,” Saxton said. “I’m really happy for her to cap her home career with a goal. She’s been one of our best players over her four years here, and that’s a nice way to cap things off.”
Heading into the game, MSU was 8-0 when scoring first.
PSU answered and tied the game at one with seven minutes remaining in the first half. The Nittany Lions played a long ball into the box to senior forward/midfielder Kori Chapic. Chapic’s first shot was saved by Clem, but she got her own rebound and put her second shot in the back of the net.
MSU senior midfielder Paige Wester was very active on the offensive end, as she picked up an assist on Marsack’s goal and fired two dangerous shots.
Eight minutes into the second half, junior forward Allyson Krause played a ball through to Wester, who stared down an open net and took the shot. A PSU player emerged and made a terrific save on the ball, keeping MSU off the scoreboard.
Senior day brought emotion to both the fans and the players, and Wester was disappointed that MSU couldn’t pull off the upset.
“It is your last home game,” senior midfielder Paige Wester said. “It’s kind of sad, but we just didn’t finish our chances. Hopefully we play them again in the Big Ten Tournament.”
MSU goalkeeper Courtney Clem also made some big plays on senior day, coming out of the net for crucial saves down the stretch to keep her team in the game. She finished with seven saves.
For MSU, it was just another game in a loaded Big Ten conference. The Spartans have hung with the top teams this year, previously playing Wisconsin and Michigan very close, and now putting forth a valiant effort against PSU.
“Playing these big teams is going to help us down the road,” redshirt junior defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz said. “Going down the stretch, it will help us with having resiliency and bouncing back after bad things happen.”
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