East Lansing, Mich. – Pacific Field Hockey upset the No. 22 Spartans of Michigan State on October 1 in East Lansing, Michigan. After falling in a close contest the day prior, the Tigers showed their resilience to bounce back against the ranked opponent taking the game 3-2. The victory gave the Tigers their first win over a Big Ten school since 1989, when they defeated Michigan State 4-0.
Junior Paige Counsman, playing just over two hours from her hometown of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, led the Tigers with a pair of scores, including the game winner.
Counsman said about her return to Michigan, "Coming back home, winning and being able to score the game winner was something I never imagined, but it is an incredible feeling."
The victory improved Pacific to 4-8, while the loss dropped Michigan State to 6-6
Michigan State's Allie Ahern got the scoring started with a goal from just inside the circle after receiving a pass from Christie Jones. But, the lead would be short lived due to a perfect pass from junior Emily Tregoning and finish by Melissa Maultsby for her fifth goal of the season. After Maultsby received the dime she dribbled the ball into the circle and ripped the shot from eight yards out to beat the Spartans' keeper. The assist for Tregoning was her fifth of the season, good for most on the team.
However, the Tigers' Counsman would not leave the score tied for long. Maultsby ripped another shot at the Spartans' keeper that was saved, but Counsman was in perfect position to knock it in to the open goal from three yards out.
Then, less than two minutes later, Pacific would extend its first half lead to 3-1 with Counsman's second score of the game and team-high sixth goal of the season. After receiving a corner, the Tigers' Jenna Vivian put in the ball to Emily Trudeau who ripped a shot at the opposing keeper that was blocked. However, again Counsman was in perfect position to knock in the rebounded shot.
The Pacific offense completely dominated the first half taking six shots on goal to one, and having more penalty corners than the Spartans. Counsman's two first half goals gave her a team-best 14 points.
The second half belonged to the Pacific defense and keeper Ashlee Schlesier who recorded four saves in the game, including three crucial stops in the second half.
With just over seven minutes left in the contest, Michigan State's Abby Barker connected to pull the score within one, but after the Tigers' defense regrouped to quickly turn away a pair penalty corners. The first was blocked by the Pacific defense, while the second sailed just wide of the cage. Both penalty corners were awarded as the Spartans had an extra attacker after pulling their goalie.
Head coach Linda MacDonald was thrilled with her team's performance saying, "We came out strong, with a lot of pressure. The team fought the entire game. It was beautiful."
Counsman discussed the key to the victory today as being, "We played a full 70 minutes and worked hard the entire time. It was just a great feeling to get the win and head home with some positive momentum."
The Tigers will now fly home to prepare for a contest with NorPac Conference foe Stanford on Brookside Field. The game is schedule to begin at 1:00 pm on October 7.