No. 6 Michigan State set for first Big Ten tournament final


Jack Moreland

Lauren DeBeau celebrates with fans after the game against Minnesota Oct. 30, 2022/ Photo credit: Jack Moreland

Jay DeCoster, Soccer Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – No. 6 Michigan State women’s soccer will be competing for its first-ever Big Ten tournament title, as the top-seeded Spartans are set to face No. 21 Penn State in Columbus.  

The regular season champions are coming off a 2-1 victory against Nebraska in the semifinal on Thursday, Nov. 3. Goals from graduate forward Camryn Evans and freshman midfielder Courtney Koehler helped the Spartans advance to their first Big Ten  Championship in school history. 

“I think it was a new opportunity for us, and we haven’t really been on this big of a stage before,” said Koehler. “I just thought, leading up to this game, that everyone on our team has stepped up within their role in our process.”

Koehler’s 68th-minute go-ahead goal was her third of the season.

The victory against Nebraska would notch the single-season program record 16th straight win, improving the Spartans’ record to 16-1-3.

“Obviously, it was an incredible regular season for this group, including going undefeated in conference play and winning our first trophy together. I think this group is hungry for more,” said head coach Jeff Hosler. “I’m excited to see a quality soccer match, and I’m excited to see our team give their very best.”

Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year and MAC Hermann Trophy watch list member Lauren Kozal recorded a program-record 16th individual win for goalkeepers. Kozal surpassed Renee Richert’s record of 14, set in 1986. 

No. 21 Penn State comes into the Championship game boasting a 12-4-3 overall record, and 5-3-2 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions seek their ninth Big Ten Tournament title, with their last one coming in 2019.

The all-time series record between the two schools favors Penn State 24-6-0. Michigan State defeated Penn State 2-1 in University Park on Sept. 29. The game was MSU’s first road victory in the series. 

Penn State forward Ally Schlegel has scored six goals in her last five games. She recorded her 100th career point on Oct. 16 against Michigan. 

Kickoff for the Big Ten Championship is set for 2 p.m. at Field, the home of  Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew. The game can be seen on Big Ten Network.