It was not the senior day the No. 19 Spartans were looking for as they fell to No. 9 Louisville 2-1 on Saturday. Becky Stiles got Michigan State’s lone tally and Sierra Patton made two saves.
Both offenses were rather quiet in the first half with Louisville outshooting the Spartans 5-2. Once the second half started, the offense showed up.
“We really talked at the half about staying forehand, playing forehand, playing to space and we started to do that more in the second half,” head coach Helen Knull said. “Louisville executed well on their corners getting their two goals, and that’s something we have to work on for Thursday.”
Louisville struck first on a goal off of a corner by Elisa Garcia.
Despite the goal, Michigan State had by far the better of the scoring chances for most of the half. The hard work culminated in Michigan State’s first corner of the game that came over 51 minutes into the game.
As the corner played out, a pair of seniors from New Jersey would tie the game for the Spartans.
Alli Helwig took a shot that was blocked in front and Stiles was in the right place at the right time as she deposited her seventh goal of the season.
The game would not stay tied for long, as Louisville earned a corner around two minutes later. As the corner played out, Garcia took a shot towards the goal when Mallory Mason got a stick on it and deflected it up and over a sprawled Patton and into the back of the net.
The goal proved to be the dagger and Michigan State could not rebound. It did not help that the Spartans received two yellow cards in a 3:18 span. The two yellow cards came with less than five minutes remaining and Allie Ahern and Abby Barker had to sit out for the remainder of the game.
The Spartans ended up outshooting the Cardinals 8-3 in the second half with Louisville’s Sydney King making six saves.
“At the end of the day I feel we played well today,” Knull said. “It was a highly emotional game. Take the positives from it, clean up things we didn’t do well and see who we’re going to play Thursday.”
Brian Bobal is the co-host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports
Photo: Brian Bobal/Impact Sports