Michigan State opens NCAA Tournament against Milwaukee


Ruby Diodati keeps the ball away from a Michigan defender during the Spartans’ 2-0 victory over the Wolverines on October 9, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jay DeCoster, Soccer and Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – No. 4 seed Michigan State women’s soccer continues its historic season as they host No. 13 seed Milwaukee in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, Nov. 11.

This will be MSU’s first national tournament appearance since 2009.

MSU is 2-4 in the NCAA Tournament and have reached the second round twice, coming in 2005 and 2008. 

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament and host a first-round game at DeMartin for the first time in program history,” said head coach Jeff Hosler. “This team has accomplished a lot through this point in the season, but I know they are hungry to go out and continue to give their best effort and play with a chip on their shoulder.”

The Spartans come off of a gut-wrenching 3-2 Big Ten Championship loss to nine-time tournament champions Penn State on Nov. 6. 

Milwaukee boasts a 12-3-3 overall record and won the Horizon League regular season as well as the conference championship, with wins over IUPUI and Youngstown State. The Panthers are led by senior forward Haley Johnson and sophomore forward Hayla Rollins, both scoring eight goals a piece in the regular season. 

Michigan State and Milwaukee will be meeting for the 12th time in the all-time series, dating back to 1986. MSU leads the series matchup 8-3 overall. The Spartans and Panthers most recent meeting dates back to Aug. 25, 2013 in East Lansing, where MSU won 5-2.

“We’re up against a talented Milwaukee side that has been to the NCAA tournament multiple times over the past few seasons, so we will have to remain focused and disciplined if we want to advance,” Hosler said.

Senior Lauren DeBeau leads the Spartans with 11 goals and was named the Big Ten Forward of the Year in October. On the other side of the pitch, goalkeeper Lauren Kozal looks to earn her 13th clean sheet of the season.

Kickoff for the first round of the NCAA tournament is set for 6 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN+.