PREVIEW: Michigan State field hockey preps for tough test in No. 3 Northwestern


The MSU field hockey team stands during the national anthem/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Elaine Smith, Field hockey beat reporter

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State field hockey team prepares to host the No. 3 Northwestern Wildcats on Friday. The Spartans (6-6) are 0-5 in conference play and are looking for their first Big Ten win of the season. 

This matchup will be the 65th all-time meeting between the two, with the Wildcats leading the series 41-23. The Spartans have not won against the Wildcats since 2010. Since then, the Wildcats have 11 straight wins against the Spartans. 

The Spartans beat Ball State 5-3 in their last game.. Emma O’Neill, Lulu Fulton, and Merel Hanssen all netted goals for MSU. 

Hanssen currently leads Michigan State with five goals in 12 games. Fulton and Ellie Rutherford are close runner-ups, with four goals in 12 games. 

Goalkeeper Monique Jardell has started all 12 games and has played nearly every minute this season. She has made 62 saves and has a .689 save percentage.

The Spartans are on the lookout for Northwestern’s Bente Baekers, who currently has 18 goals in just 13 games. She leads the nation in goals and is on track to break multiple records, including the Northwestern record for goals in a season (29). She needs one more goal to become the second player in program history and fifth player in Big Ten history to reach 80 career goals.

The Wildcats are coming off a two game losing streak, falling short to No. 4 Maryland and No. 23 Rutgers, putting Northwestern 10-3 overall and 1-3 in conference play. The Spartans will be the first unranked Big Ten team and the third unranked team overall the Wildcats have faced.

The Spartans hope to take home an upset victory as they battle one of the top teams in the nation.