MSU has a chance to keep the wheels rolling this weekend, and after a six day break, the Spartans will visit West Lafayette, Ind., for a Saturday night game against Purdue.
MSU (7-5-1 overall, 1-5-1 Big Ten) should be dialed up and ready to go against the Boilermakers (6-7-1 overall, 2-6 Big Ten). Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m., and head coach Tom Saxton expects an exciting atmosphere.
“We haven’t been to Purdue’s rebuilt facility, it’s pretty cool I guess,” Saxton said. “We’ll be under the lights, following the football game. They usually have quite a ruckus student section, with a lot of jabs, kind of like what we saw in Ann Arbor. We’ll be ready for a fast-paced, high intensity game.”
The Spartans are coming off their first conference victory over Nebraska, and the team is hoping to improve its resume with a win Saturday.
“We know we need to keep winning to move higher up in the standings,” freshman forward Jamie Cheslik said. “I think we’re all pretty confident that we can do it. We’ve been working hard at practice and working as a team.”
Last weekend’s victory was greatly influenced by the team’s focus heading into the game. The Spartans came out prepared for the game with high intensity.
“What really worked Sunday was that we came out in our warm-ups dedicated and ready to play,” junior defender Alexandra Gjonaj said. “That changed the game at the beginning.”
Saxton agrees, and believes that his team needs to stay calm if it hopes to succeed Saturday night.
“We need to stay loose and relaxed,” Saxton said. “Nebraska was one of the best pregames we’ve had here in a couple years. This team’s personality suits more of a low-key, happy-go-lucky attitude, and we’re going to try and stick with that regardless of what the previous game looked like.”
Purdue appears beatable at this point in the year, and in the Big Ten, only Ohio State and Nebraska have given up more goals. With MSU’s offense finding its stride, the Spartans should have plenty of chances to score.
“Purdue has given up a lot of goals, although they are a dangerous team themselves.” Saxton said. “From the scouts and the film work we’ve done, if we can get some pressure on their back line, we should get our chances. Like we did finally on Sunday, we’ve got to put them away.”
Cheslik has been an impact in almost every game this year, and she will take the Big Ten Freshman of the Week title into the game on Saturday.
Cheslik earned the weekly honor after recording a goal and an assist against Nebraska last weekend. She currently leads the team with seven goals and 16 points.
Purdue’s offense is led by sophomore forward Maddy Williams, whose five goals and 15 points are best on the team. Saxton has noted that he isn’t worried about keying on one Boilermaker in particular, but he is more concerned about solving Purdue’s team pressure.