Sunday, February 25, 2024

Physical play from Iowa leads to a scoreless draw for MSU women’s soccer

September 23, 2022

On the chilly first night of fall, Michigan State women’s soccer did not score a goal, yet did not conceive one either en route to a 0-0 tie against the Iowa Hawkeyes at DeMartin Stadium. 

After Iowa ended MSU's season last year in the Big Ten Tournament, Head Coach Jeff Hosler said before the game that the team was emotionally charged for the match, but they ultimately could not execute offensively.

“We have got to match physicality better," Hosler said. "That is two matches in a row in Big Ten play that we have not been our best in the first half. We were so incredible during our non-conference portion, particularly that Arkansas match playing aggressive, bringing the physicality and the intensity. We have flat out failed to do that in the first halves of two games.”

MSU’s offense shot itself in the foot on many occasions throughout the entire game with turnovers galore, and Hosler believes that it all comes down to staying disciplined. 

“You can't play through the vertical middle against them," Hosler said. "You have to beat them on the outsides, you have to make quick combos there and they have to switch the point and do it again. We forced way too many balls to midfield that got cut out, and that is what led to a lot of their counters ... We have gotta be more disciplined to get to where we want to go.”

After a hat trick against Illinois last weekend, senior Lauren DeBeau was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, but could not find that magic against Iowa due to their physical play throughout the match. 

“Iowa is a physical team but so are we and I think when we play at our top-notch because of the physicality we outplay any team and I do not think it was there,” DeBeau said.

She also mentioned that upperclassmen's leadership needs to be better in games such as this one. 

“The leadership really needs to get on the girls to really play and give 100%,” DeBeau said.

Per usual, the United Soccer Coaches All-American redshirt senior goalkeeper Lauren Kozal and her defense had a solid night. 

Kozal had a beautiful diving save with about 20 minutes left to go to keep the game scoreless and added four other saves to her stat sheet as well. It was her seventh shutout performance of the season. 

Preparation for Kozal was key in being able to stop Iowa from leaving East Lansing with a win. 

“I knew coming out that Iowa would take a lot of shots from deep especially,” Kozal said. “So just preparing for that and knowing when they are about to shoot it to get set and ready.”

In order to not repeat this type of performance this weekend, Kozal believes that they need to practice inspired. 

“I think that just keeping our motivation up and high and energy high at practice tomorrow, already getting back after it and learn from this and learn from our mistakes and what we need to fix going into Sunday,” Kozal said.

With the draw, Michigan State moves to six wins, three draws and one loss on the season. They will face Purdue at home on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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