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Graduate student forward Ava Cook's aggressiveness carrying MSU women's soccer

September 26, 2021
<p>Michigan State&#x27;s fifth-year senior forward Ava Cook (14) falls with Wisconsin&#x27;s redshirt sophomore defender Gabby Green (16) during Michigan State&#x27;s loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 23, 2021.</p>

Michigan State's fifth-year senior forward Ava Cook (14) falls with Wisconsin's redshirt sophomore defender Gabby Green (16) during Michigan State's loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 23, 2021.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Number 14 stole the show this past Thursday night at DeMartin Stadium.

The Wisconsin badgers gave it their all as they took the win from the Spartans, but that wouldn't be without taking some hits along the way.

Despite the score, graduate student forward Ava Cook kept her head up and put 200% into the game. She took a few shots at goal both halves and kept at it.

“We have got to get a win,” Cook said. “Whatever I can do to help my team win is exactly what I am going to do the whole time. If I can set that tone, I know it will lead to others.”

The key to her game was her constant aggressiveness in play. Cook pressed her defenders and went all in at goal. This carried the team and gave them opportunities to stay in the game despite the loss.

“I was trying to go over our tactics for the game,” Cook said. “Especially in a high intensity game like that, it's important to keep everyone high intensity, but calm at the same time. A lot of teams can capitalize when teams are frazzled, so it's a big part of our game is to remain calm and play our game.”

In the short amount of time that Cook has been a Spartan, she has made her name known. Her play is what allowed Hosler to make an adjustment at half and bring more chances to the forefront for the team.

“We had to play and press a little bit higher than we did in the first half and commit some more numbers forward,” Hosler said. “I like the way that we found some moments into our two strikers and when we got forward, we had to commit more numbers particularly on the back side.”

Of course, this play is nothing new for Hosler and Cook. Cook transferred from Grand Valley State University this past year where she played under her current Michigan State Head coach Jeff Hosler.

Now a few games in and with Big Ten play beginning, Cook is starting to peak at the right time.

“The team has been beyond welcoming which I could not be more thankful for,” Cook said. “That is the biggest part of it for me. It's always hard especially to be a fifth-year player. It has been really really nice.”

While Cook has had previous experience playing at the college level, the Big Ten conference games are different than what she has endured previously and the grind of the season can wear on a person.

However, that higher level of competition is what Cook thrives on.

“It is definitely a different style of play, but it's one that I love,” Cook said. “The competition here is really high intensity all the time and that’s what I need to grow my game. I am really really thankful that I was able to make the transition to Big Ten.”

Cook will continue to put her all into the game as the Spartans go up against the Minnesota gophers this Sunday at noon.

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