Sept. 29, 2011
Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Ralph Young Field)
Score: Northwestern 3, Michigan State 0
Records: NU (10-3, 1-1 Big Ten), MSU (5-7, 0-2 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Oct. 1 at Penn State University Park, Pa. 11 a.m. CT
Television Coverage: Big Ten Network Tape Delay -- 3 p.m. CT Sunday
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- For over 45 minutes, No. 16 Northwestern and Michigan State battled in a scoreless affair, but a Regan Mooney goal at 45:58 gave the 'Cats a lead that they would never relinquish, eventually finishing off the Spartans -- after a 15-minute lightning delay -- in East Lansing, 3-0.
"We started out a bit slow today, but really came on after a short lightning delay," head coach Tracey Fuchs said. "Our midfield played very well today and our backs stepped up and limited Michigan State to just six shots. Overall, it was a great day for the 'Cats."
The contest's first half went by with no scoring, but there were plenty of chances for both teams to find the back of the cage. Michigan State controlled possession for most of the first half, keeping the ball out of the hands of the Wildcats' potent offense. With about 10 minutes to go, however, it looked as though Northwestern finally would seize momentum with a breakaway run downfield. The 'Cats had a rare three-on-one scenario, but a solid defensive effort by MSU fought off the attack and blocked the ball away at the last second.
Another opportunity arose for Northwestern around the 7:30 mark, but the Spartans stood their ground on defense once again. With less than a minute remaining in the half, Northwestern attempted its third penalty corner of the half, but a Chelsea Armstrong shot was tipped wide of the cage, leaving the 'Cats and Spartans scoreless at the break.
More than 10 minutes passed in the second half before any action occurred on either side of the pitch, but a Northwestern corner -- one of 10 corners on the day -- gave the 'Cats life. Armstrong took a shot at the top of the circle and Mooney deflected it into the cage, giving NU a hard-earned 1-0 lead.
With both teams pressing in a heated game, it was Northwestern who came out on top again when Armstrong used a scramble in front of the cage to edge one just past Molly Cassidy for her 16th goal of the season. Less than two minutes later, with the 2-0 advantage, Northwestern maintained possession and capitalized once again on a penalty corner. Mooney pushed the ball in to Julia Retzky who set up Armstrong's shot. The junior sent a rocket into the cage, giving the 'Cats a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead over the Spartans. That goal gave the Aussie her Big Ten-leading 17th score of the season and fifth point of the day.
The Wildcats' defense was persistent for the rest of the game, holding the Spartans to only one shot in the final 15 minutes. Of the six shots MSU was able to get off throughout the game, freshman goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter stopped four on the way to her second shutout of her career, the third for the 'Cats this year.
Up next, a final road game against No. 7 Penn State in University Park, Pa., awaits Northwestern on Saturday. Game time is set for 11 a.m. CT, but the Big Ten Network will tape-delay the broadcast at 3 p.m. CT Sunday.
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