EAST LANSING— On Sunday morning, the Michigan State’s women’s soccer team took down the Minnesota Golden Gophers 2-1 at DeMartin Soccer Stadium. Here are three observations from MSU’s seventh win of the season and second Big Ten win:
1. The Spartans’ crisp ball movement is their key to success
When these girls got on a roll, it was hard to stop them. Although they often got outran by Minnesota when it was one-on-one, the longer the game went on, the more the Spartans were in sync with each other. Being able to pass the ball precisely down the field at a rapid pace helped the momentum of the game and helped the Spartans stay alive when they were struggling on the offensive end. The fast-paced style of offense led to the game-winning goal by forward/midfielder MJ Andrus with less than five minutes in the game; the goal was assisted by defender/midfielder Reagan Cox. Even more remarkable was the fact that Andrus scored the goal only mere moments after Minnesota forward Izzy Brown scored her own goal to tie the game up at one.
2. Foul trouble almost blew the game for MSU
The main problem for the Spartans on the day was the number of preventable fouls and silly miscues. While Minnesota had four fouls in the entire contest, the Spartans had a whopping 14 infractions. Many of the foolish mistakes are simple fixes but, at the end of the day, the fouls did cause forced turnovers and most importantly, cost the Spartans a goal in the second half because of an offsides penalty.
Although it didn’t directly impact the result of the game today, preventable miscues could eventually hurt this team, especially with the overwhelming amount of sheer talent in the Big Ten.
3. Kozal saved the day yet again
Not only did goalkeeper Lauren Kozal have four saves in the game, she also had countless successful shots faced. Along with her goalkeeping, the Spartans really utilized her as a defensive player by having her leave the goal to help out her teammates on defense. She had many successful passes to her teammates which led to strong plays down the field and set her fellow Spartans up for success.
The reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week showed yet again why she is one of the top netminders in the conference with her intuitive knowledge of the game combined with her exceptional ball-tracking ability. Through 10 games, Kozal has collected five shutouts and not allowed more than a single goal in any game this season, truly a remarkable statistic.