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MSU women's soccer's Bella Najera earns third Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, MSU splits direction in polls

October 17, 2023
<p>MSU freshman forward/midfielder Bella Najera (23) has the ball while Pennsylvania State University senior midfielder Natalie Wilson (32) chases Bella at DeMartin Soccer Stadium on Oct. 1, 2023.</p>

MSU freshman forward/midfielder Bella Najera (23) has the ball while Pennsylvania State University senior midfielder Natalie Wilson (32) chases Bella at DeMartin Soccer Stadium on Oct. 1, 2023.

Photo by Maya Kolton | The State News

MSU women’s soccer freshman forward/midfielder Bella Najera made history Tuesday, becoming the first Spartan in program history to earn three or more Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards. 

Najera continued her outstanding freshman campaign in MSU’s final road stretch of the regular season, tallying the opening goal at Rutgers Sunday and an assist to senior midfielder Justina Gaynor Thursday at Indiana. 

The Spartans drew with the Hoosiers 1-1 then went on to defeat the Rutgers 2-0 marking MSU’s first-ever victory in Piscataway and the second straight season in which it went undefeated on the road in conference play. 

Najera leads all Spartans in total points with 15 and ranks second on the team in goals scored with 6. She leads all Big Ten in both categories. 

Following its win over Rutgers, MSU’s women’s soccer team moved up to No. 14 in the United Coaches Poll from 20, but down to No. 20 in the Top-Drawer National Ranking. 

The Spartans close out their regular season with a pair of home games, battling Illinois on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. and Iowa on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.

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