Saturday, September 26, 2020

Michigan State women's soccer to take on Big Ten rivals No. 19 Michigan

October 18, 2019
	<p>Junior defender Kelsey Mullen tries to steal the ball away from Wolverine midfielder Tori McCombs on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 at the U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Spartans gained momentum in the first half after scoring a goal, but could not overcome the Wolverines in the end, losing 2-1 in overtime. Julia Nagy/The State News</p>

Junior defender Kelsey Mullen tries to steal the ball away from Wolverine midfielder Tori McCombs on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 at the U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Spartans gained momentum in the first half after scoring a goal, but could not overcome the Wolverines in the end, losing 2-1 in overtime. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | and Julia Nagy The State News

There’s only one game on tap this week, but it’s a big one. Michigan State women’s soccer comes face-to-face in the first game of a doubleheader with their Big Ten rivals, the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (11-3-1), at DeMartin Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 19.

The Wolverines took the cake at last season’s showdown in Ann Arbor with a 2-0 win. The Spartans (8-6-1) have the home advantage this season, with hopes to reverse the damage.

The Spartans have maintained a good clean fight so far this season, a definite bounce back from their 2018 streak. The girls will be coming into the rivalry game off of a strenuous double overtime loss at Champaign against the Fighting Illini (8-6-0) on Oct. 13.

Players To Watch For

A shining star bearing the green and white this season is No. 15, sophomore forward Gia Wahlberg, with nine goals tucked under her belt, zero assists and seventeen shots on goal overall.

Be sure to keep a sharp eye on a couple of Wahlberg’s underclassmen teammates as well: No. 10 sophomore forward Camryn Evans with three goals and six assists, fourteen shots on goal; No. 28 freshman forward Paige Webber with five goals and two assists, six shots on goal; and No. 3 junior midfielder Danielle Stephan with two goals and six assists, fourteen shots on goal.

These athletes hold a power dynamic that has been the driving force of the Spartans' eight victories thus far.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Wolverines limelight focuses on three girls who have greatly outshone this season while wearing the blue and maize: No. 18 sophomore midfielder Raleigh Loughnan with an equal six goals and six assists, thirteen shots on goal; No. 8 junior midfielder Sarah Stratigakis with five goals and seven assists, twenty shots on goal; and No. 7 sophomore midfielder Meredith Haakenson with seven goals and one assist, twelve shots on goal.

These athletes certainly don't hold back and have kept their team at No. 19 on the NCAA leaderboard this season for sure.

Having been in a constant battle against their Big Ten opponents since Sept. 19, time is now running out for the ladies of East Lansing.

A win on Saturday could optimistically bump the Spartans up from their bottom position on the Big Ten leaderboard. Their Wolverine rivals would remain at No. 19.

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