After defeating the Western Michigan Broncos 3-2 in double overtime, Michigan State tied its third-longest undefeated streak to start a season in program history.
“I try to stay in the moment like I ask the team to do, but I would have never predicted this,” Saxton said. “I think a collection of strong opponents and to win against in-state mid-majors as, I said before, is a very difficult thing to do because it’s a big game for them, and we made it a big game for us and maybe that’s why we came out on top.”
In a physical game, of 102 minutes, the two teams spent the first 29 minutes going back and forth, not giving the keepers much to do until freshman forward, Jamie Cheslik, received a through ball inside the 18-yard box from a teammate and tried to slot it past Kaitlyn Collin who denied Cheslik of a goal scoring opportunity.
On the attack three minutes later, the Broncos worked the ball back into MSU’s defensive third, and freshman forward Emma Kahn played a through ball to freshman midfielder Maria Jaramillo inside the box, which she poked past a diving Courtney Clem.
The Spartans would keep the pressure on and in the 42nd minute a handball on a Bronco defender inside the 18-yard box would give MSU the equalizer as redshirt junior, Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz, stepped up and buried the penalty kick in the left side of the goal.
“Last year when I started taking them I was a little nervous, but this year it’s kind of just fun to go up and put all that on your shoulders and do that,” Fiebernitz said. “I think I gotta start changing up the sides a little bit because we always have so many in non-conference so hopefully no one sees the film on those.”
It did not take long for Michigan State to add another goal in the second half as Cheslik put the Spartans ahead 2-1 off a cross from freshman midfielder, Morgan McKerchie, which she chested down, beat two Bronco defenders and slotted it past Collins in the 51st minute.
“I think that made them come out harder after the goal because they wanted to prove a point that they could compete with us, which they did very well,” Cheslik said. “They were a very good team. They put a lot of pressure on us after that goal to score another one and they did.”
For 33 minutes, the Spartans held on to their 2-1 lead, but in the 84th minute, senior forward, Aubrey Sudomier, hit a weak shot across the box, which slowed down at the top of the 6-yard box and senior midfielder, Rachel Chaney, ran onto the ball and slotted it far post and into the bottom corner of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
At the end of the 90 minutes the scored was tied 2-2 and Michigan State was headed into their first overtime game of the season.
In the first overtime, the Spartans had the best chance to score in the 97th minute when senior forward, Paige Wester, almost found junior forward, Allyson Krause, on a through ball inside Western’s 18-yard box.
With both teams exhausted and players starting to cramp, the teams took the pitch for the second overtime, which would end two minutes into the second overtime when Wester found Krause on a through ball, which she took a touch into the 18-yard box and slotted the ball past Collins for the game winner.
“Honestly, I was cramping up and I said I want to get this game over with,” Krause said. “I wanted to make that slashing run and Paige (Wester) played an excellent ball and we were able to finish it off, which was good because I tried doing that in the first overtime and the goalie came out and got it so it was kind of redeeming myself towards the end.”
Michigan State has four days to recuperate and practice before they open up the Big Ten season against the Wisconsin Badgers, who are also 6-0 to start the season and are ranked 15th in the country.
Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.
Photos: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports