#6 Spartans advance to NCAA second round, beat Milwaukee in double overtime

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EAST LANSING, Michigan – Sixth- and fourth-seeded Michigan State Women’s Soccer recorded a stunning 3-2 double-overtime victory over the Milwaukee Panthers in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships on Friday night at the DeMartin Stadium.

The Greens and Whites reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in program history and picked up a victory in their first-ever home game in the Big Dance. MSU climbs to 3-4 all-time at the NCAA championships, posting the program’s first victory since Nov. 14, 2008, when the Spartans beat Milwaukee, 2-1. The 2008 Spartans used a brace from new Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Laura (Heyboer) Heethuis to secure the win in South Bend, Indiana.

Michigan State’s single-season program record in the win column continues to grow as the Spartans reach an astronomical 17-2-3 total in 2022. The Greens and Whites also extend their unbeaten streak at home to 12 consecutive games, with their last defeat. coming against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2021 Big Ten Quarterfinals on October 31. MSU boasts one of the top 10 home unbeaten streaks among any Division I program and is tied for seventh in the nation with a seven-game home win streak.

In box scoring, MSU led in all offensive stats highlighted by a shocking 30-6 differential in shot attempts. Shots on goal favored the Spartans by a 15-4 margin, and the corner kick battle presented a lopsided differential of 6-0 in favor of Michigan State.

Three different Spartans have found the back of the net, with a graduating striker Camryn Evans recording the match winner in the 105th. Both MSU goals in regulation time were scored by the junior midfielder’s sister duo Justina Gaynor and graduate midfielder Celia Gaynor. Three players had assists on the night, led by the senior striker Lauren DeBeausecond year student Jordyn Wickes and junior midfielder Zivana Labovic. Between the posts, senior goalkeeper Lauren Kozal picked up another game-winning decision, bringing his program’s single-season win count to 17. For the Panthers, redshirt rookie Kendall Edwards played all 110 minutes and put up a valiant 12-save effort with three goals allowed.

Despite dominating the opening battle for possession in the first six minutes, the Spartans found themselves trailing the game 1-0 early in the seventh. A slip on the offensive side led to a solid offensive opportunity for Panther, with second defenseman Clara Broecker leading the way out of the backfield. Broecker’s out pass to sophomore forward Ashley Higgins hit her in stride, and Higgins found redshirt junior forward Natalie Auble in space. In a one-on-one situation against Kozal, Auble managed to find the open net and send the icebreaker into the back left corner.

The Spartans responded with a dominating effort for the remainder of the period, with the Greens and Whites amassing a striking 13-2 differential on shots before the end of the half. MSU saved a corner less than two minutes after Panther scored. The Spartans racked up two more corner kicks before the game entered the halftime break, but Michigan State failed to score a tying goal. The Spartans trailed at half-time for only the second time in 2022.

After intermission, the MSU offense began a spirited and persistent attack on the Milwaukee back line. The Spartan frontline dominated the possession battle throughout and tied into the backline early in the second. After the two teams settled back in, Michigan State wasted no time in blocking the score in the 56th. Justina Gaynor fought for possession and took a few dribbles about 16 yards from the Panthers goal. The Spartan midfielder lined up on the left side of the box and curled a magnificent shot into the right back corner beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.

The Spartans kept up the pressure as the game wore on and managed to score a decisive goal in the 77th minute. A myriad of players surrounded the net as the Spartans headed towards the Panthers goal. Labovic managed to head a ball into the goal area where Celia Gaynor headed it high into the back of the net. With the 2-1 lead in hand, it looked like the Spartans would be fighting on the back line until time ran out. Milwaukee had other plans, as the Panthers found themselves ready for an abandoned last-ditch effort with 20 seconds to go. Following an MSU handball just outside the box, the Panthers fired a free kick which bounced outside the box. Higgins found herself with the ball and served it inside to sophomore forward Kayla Rollins for the score in the 90th minute.

In overtime for the first time in 2022, the Spartans launched the same searing offensive attack that benefited them for much of the game. MSU had a trio of shots against any of the Panthers but failed to find the back of the net for the first 10 minutes of free football. The second overtime proved to be the dagger, as Michigan State’s relentless pressure culminated in Evans’ game winner. Wickes sent the ball into the box for DeBeau, who quickly noticed the Panther’s defensive lapse on the weak side. DeBeau sent the ball 10 yards to the right and Evans closed the scoring with a wide-open right-footed attempt in the center of the net.

POST-MATCH QUOTES
MICHIGAN STATE QUOTES
The head coach Jeff Hosler
Opening statement…

“Rumor has it they call it surviving and advancing, and that’s exactly what today was. Milwaukee is an incredible opponent; we knew when we brought Milwaukee, that they have a reputation for toughness with which they play. Kevin (Boyd) has done an amazing job. I’ve been in his place, where you walk into a program that’s been a ton of success and you make it your own, and he certainly did this year Hats off to a great opponent They gave us everything we could handle On our side our players gave us everything they had Playing from behind and coming back in extra time after that late equalizer it’s been a long time we do this and there aren’t many teams that could handle a moment like this emotionally and still go out and perform. I’m so happy for our group and proud of the tenacity they’ve shown. This should serve us well in the future.

Junior midfielder Justina Gaynor
By scoring alongside his sister during settlement…

“It was pretty special. It’s a massive stage where neither of us have been before, so I think we both embraced the moment and gave it everything we had, and we had the lucky to capitalize on our moments. Honestly, maybe not lucky; we were prepared and ready and just took advantage of our opportunities and it’s great that we were able to contribute.”

RATING SUMMARY

6 ‘ – Head-to-head against Kozal, Auble manages to find the open net and sends the icebreaker into the left rear window. MKE 1, MSU 0

56′ – Justina Gaynor fought for possession and took a few dribbles from 16 yards out. The Spartan lined up on the left side of the box and curled a magnificent shot into the right back corner beyond the keeper’s reach. MSU 1, MKE 1

77′ – Labovic managed to head a ball into the goal area, where Celia Gaynor headed it high into the back of the net. MSU 2, MKE 1

90′ – Following an MSU handball just outside the area, the Panthers fire a free kick which bounces outside the area. Higgins found herself with the ball and served it inside to Rollins for the score. MSU 2, MKE 2

105′ – Wickes sent the ball into the box for DeBeau, who quickly noticed the Panther’s defensive slip from the weak side. DeBeau sent the ball 10 yards to the right and Evans closed the scoring with a wide-open right-footed attempt in the center of the net. MSU 3, MKE 2

NEXT

Sixth-seeded and fourth-seeded Michigan State women’s soccer continues its historic 2022 campaign in the second round of the NCAA Championships as the Spartans prepare to challenge the TCU Horned Frogs. Game broadcast date, time, location and information will be announced as it becomes available.

FOLLOW THE SPARTATS

Visit MSUSpartans.com for more information on Michigan State women’s soccer. Fans can keep up to date with the Spartan Women’s Soccer Team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by following @MSU_WSoccer.

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