East Lansing, MI. :
The Spartans played host to the Nittany Lions Sunday afternoon at Ralph Young Stadium in what would become a hard-fought game to be remembered in Field Hockey lore for ages. Both teams battled hard in a fast-paced defensive battle that remained scoreless until the final stanza when the Nittany Lions scored off a corner and would hold on to the 1-0 victory.
After a very nice ceremony honoring the Spartan’s 5 seniors, the Nittany Lions started with the ball and kept the ball mainly in the Spartan’s offensive zone as they did throughout much of the game. The Nittany Lions got a shot off real quick and put a lot of pressure on the Spartans drawing a corner early on. The Spartans cranked up the pressure on the other end drawing an advantage in back to back to back corners. At the scoreless half, the Nittany Lions held a 4-1 advantage in shots and a 4-3 advantage in corners.
At the opening of the second half, the Nittany Lions were able to move the ball well and draw several corners and get more shots on goal, but Spartan goalkeeper Monique “Mo” Jardell continued to make several outstanding saves against the talented Nittany Lions team. The Nittany Lions had several great opportunities drawing 3 corners back to back. Going into the final stanza the Nittany Lions held a big edge in shots on goal 9- 4.
In the fourth quarter and off the Nittany Lion’s 12th corner of the game Junior midfielder Mackenzie Allessie took the penalty corner pass and dropped it off to Senior defenseman Anna Simon who blasted a shot into the back of the goal for the lead and what would eventually be the game-winning goal. It was Simon’s 11th goal of the season and Allessie’s 10th assist.
The Spartans would surge and receive a few corners late in the game but just couldn’t get that ball past a tight Nittany Lion defense and goalkeeper Brie Barraco. With less than a minute left in the game, Allessie intercepted the ball from upfield and was able to control the clock until the end.
“This was a very important victory for the Big Ten standings and our tournament seedings and I’m really proud of the way we kept playing and shooting on goal,” Penn State Head Coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. “The Spartans goalie played really well, she just played phenomenally. Now we need to rest up and get ready for Michigan on Friday night.”
Penn State dominated the statistics if not the scoreboard. The Lions outshot MSU 24-6 and had a 13-5 lead in corners. Barraco had two saves for Penn State while Jardell had 10 for the Spartans.
Penn State is now 12-4 overall, 5-2 in the Big Ten. Michigan State falls to 7-7, 0-7 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions will host No. 2 Michigan on Friday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. in the regular-season finale for Penn State. The game will also serve as Senior Night. Michigan State will travel to Rutgers for a 2 p.m. game on Friday. Penn State is now ranked 5th in the nation. All top 5 Division 1 teams are from the Big Ten Conference.