EAST LANSING, Mich. – Women’s soccer scored their fastest goal of the season Friday, after the men’s team broke the same record on Wednesday afternoon.
The Spartans went on to score four goals against the Purdue Boilermakers and record their second highest goal total in a game all season.
Michigan State took an early lead against the visiting 8-5-1 Boilermakers a minute and half into the game. Forward Paige Wester scored her first goal of the season on assists from Megan Marsack and Kirsten Evans. The junior broke away from the center defenders, and hit a shot directly over the head of Purdue’s goalie 1:27 into the game.
Over the last four games, the Spartans had been on a four-game losing streak in which the team had been outscored 8-2 and shut out twice. Before Friday’s game against Purdue, the Spartans changed their emphasis in practice.
“We did some tactical stuff and some passing patterns, but the main thing we emphasized was a mentality,” said head coach Tom Saxton. “We have too many nice, young players that want to pass the ball when they should be taking it to goal. We’ve just been drilling that into them and putting them through exercises that emphasize take it yourself and we got that today so that was nice to see.”
The new mentality allowed the Spartans to offensively dominate Wednesday’s game and earn a 4-0 win over a strong Purdue team.
“To be honest with you, I’m just happy to see the kids smile after a tough stretch and that’s my main emotion,” said Saxton. “We did emphasize attack all week so getting that early goal made them believe in themselves and we got some momentum going. Purdue is not an easy team to play. They’re a tough team and it was a great win for us.”
The Spartan scoring continued as Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz easily placed a penalty kick into the net in the 22nd minute for her team-leading sixth goal of the season. Freshman midfielder Marisa Oleksiak scored her second goal of the season in the 77th minute with assists from Megan Marsack and Rachel VanPoppelen. Sophomore Allyson Krause netted her fifth goal of the season in the 88th minute and rounded out the afternoon’s scoring on her birthday.
The Spartan forward felt a goal coming on her birthday before the game even started.
“It was special,” said Krause. “I felt it coming in warm-up to be honest, but I didn’t know when it was coming so I had the one-on-one, I took the chance, shot it left foot and was able to get it in the back of the net.”
Redshirt sophomore Gabrielle Gauruder got the start in goal for the Spartans over previous No. 1 goalkeeper, redshirt junior Courtney Clem (4-4-2). Gauruder (4-1-1) made five saves including a crucial save with a 2-0 lead.
“She made a great save in a crucial time of the match,” said Saxton. “We were up 2-0 and they were putting a lot of pressure on us. It was a key save, it kept things going. They get a goal there, things change quickly. She stepped up big when we needed her and we’re confident with her in there.”
Gauruder is confident that Friday’s performance was who the Spartans really are.
“We’ve been working so hard I personally believe that our record does not reflect the team we are,” said Gauruder. “Today it was good to show who we really are.”
The Spartans improved to 8-5-2 on the season and 2-5-0 in the Big Ten. Michigan State looks to continue their goal-scoring mentality against the 10-4-1, 3-4-0 Indiana Hooisers on Sunday at DeMartin Stadium.
-MSU scored four-plus goals against a Big Ten opponent for the first time since October 10, 2008 vs. Ohio State (5-1)
Jonathan Yales is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever