After splitting two games in Washington D.C. last weekend, No. 19 Michigan State women’s field hockey came back with a pair of wins in Kent, Ohio, defeating Kent State 4-3 in overtime and Richmond 6-1. In both games, the Spartans had to play catch up.
The Spartans got in a 2-0 hole in their first game against Kent State after the Golden Flashes notched a pair of goals in a span of 4:27. Michigan State was not discouraged, however, as sophomore Megan Fenton tallied her third goal of the season with an assist by Abby Barker to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kent State regained a two-goal lead to make it 3-1 around the 56th minute, which prompted head coach Helen Knull to take a timeout.
The timeout seemed to ignite the Spartans, who went on to tie the game in five minutes. The comeback began with redshirt freshman Kendal Anderson’s first goal as a Spartan at 57:04. Barker followed up to tie the game about four minutes later with her fifth goal of the season. The overtime match was the fourth for the Spartans already this season.
The extra period lasted for over 11 minutes before senior midfielder Becky Stiles took a cross from Barker and buried her first goal of the season behind Kent State netminder Andrea Rinehart, to give the Spartans a hard-fought 4-3 victory. Barker had a goal and two assists and Sierra Patton made eight saves for Michigan State.
On Sunday, the Spartans faced Richmond and, for the third consecutive game, yielded the first goal. It did not phase Michigan State as they rallied with six unanswered goals to give a convincing 6-1 win.
Senior Alli Helwig got her first goal of the year on a penalty stroke to tie the game 1-1 in the 13th minute. The Spartans received two more goals from seniors Allie Ahern and Barker to go into the break with a 3-1 lead.
The offensive explosion carried into the second half as Barker and Ahern scored their second goals of the game in the 37th and 43rd minutes respectively to extend the lead to 5-1. Anderson shortly followed up in the 44th minute with her second goal of the weekend to widen the lead to 6-1. In the 60th minute, freshman Katie Miller went in net to replace Patton. The Ireland native made four saves in her Spartan debut.
Barker’s two goals in the game against Richmond were her sixth and seventh of the season, which leads the team. She also added an assist which gave her three goals and three assists on the weekend. Helwig notched a pair of assists to go along with her first goal of the season. Stiles added two assists, giving her one goal and two helpers on the weekend. Kristin Matula and Claire Johnson also had an assist each in the two wins for Michigan State.
Michigan State (4-2) returns to action this Saturday as the Spartans open their Big Ten schedule with a game against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
Brian Bobal is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports