Oct. 26, 2013
#13 Northwestern 2, Michigan State 1
Ralph Young Field East Lansing, Mich. Attendance: 102
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Freshman Isabel Flens notched the game-winning goal with 6:16 remaining in regulation as No. 13 Northwestern gutted out a 2-1 victory over Michigan State at Ralph Young Field Saturday afternoon.
The victory helps the Wildcats remain one game behind Penn State in the Big Ten standings with one conference game left. The Nittany Lions clinched at least a share of the league regular-season crown with a 2-1 win at Iowa on Friday. PSU wraps up Big Ten play at Michigan next Friday, while NU hosts Ohio State the same day.
"Our team really had to battle today," Northwestern head coach Tracey Fuchs said. "Michigan State put us under a lot of pressure and our defense was solid. Maddy Carpenter stepped up and made some spectacular saves. We didn't have our best performance, but we managed to stay poised and make our opportunities count today."
Northwestern (13-4, 4-1 Big Ten) had to grind out a victory over the Spartans in order to remain in contention. The two teams entered the contest tied for second play in the conference and the 'Cats got on the scoreboard first in the 16th minute of play.
NU earned its second penalty corner of the half and Nikki Parsley's initial shot was saved by defender Kristen Henn off the goalline, but Lisa McCarthy was in the right place at the right time, knocking home the rebound to make it 1-0.
On the other end, Maddy Carpenter made four saves in goal as the Wildcats made the one-goal advantage stand up throughout the remainder of the half. The Spartans applied pressure on Northwestern following the Wildcats' goal, posting an 8-4 edge in shots over the opening 35 minutes of play, but the visitors tallied the only score.
The hosts did manage to post the equalizer 7:19 into the second stanza as MSU earned a penalty corner and Adelle Lever knocked in a rebound to even the match at 1-1.
The Spartans kept the pressure on, recording two shots on goal and four corners over the next 20 minutes of play, but Carpenter and the Wildcats were able to keep the score knotted. NU dodged back-to-back corners by Michigan State with 10 minutes remaining before coming back down on the other end.
Flens recorded her sixth goal of the year as the clock approached six minutes to go, giving the 'Cats a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The defense stiffened the rest of the way as it didn't allow a single shot by MSU.
Carpenter made six saves to earn the victory in goal.
Northwestern faces a quick turnaround as it travels to Central Michigan on Sunday for its final road game of the regular season. The contest is slated to get underway at 11 a.m. Central time.
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