WHO: Maryland Terrapins @ Michigan State Spartans
WHAT: Field hockey B1G Conference game
WHERE: Ralph Young Field, Michigan State University
WHEN: Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm
WATCH: BTN Plus (BTN2GO.COM)
After picking up a needed win at Michigan Friday, Maryland's field hockey team looks to make it two in a row taking the short trip from Ann Arbor to East Lansing to face off with the 18th ranked Michigan State Spartans..
Spartans on the turf
By virtue of winning the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan State was an NCAA Tournament qualifier in 2013. The Spartans finished with an overall record of 14-10 and were 4-2 in conference play. They defeated Iowa 3-2 in the Tournament final and won two games in the NCAA Tournament before losing 3-1 to eventual national champion Connecticut. The Spartans lost twice on their home field dropping a 4-0 decision to Syracuse and losing 2-1 to Northwestern.
The Terps are the second of back to back home games for the Spartans who lost 2-1 to Penn State on Friday. MSU won their conference opener taking a 4-3 overtime decision on the road at Ohio State. Four of Michigan State's first eight games have gone to overtime and a fifth, a 1-0 loss to American, needed a second overtime before it was decided. The Spartans are 3-1 in overtime with wins against Maine and Kent State joining the game at Ohio State in the left hand column. Their only overtime loss came on their home field when they fell 2-1 to Duke.
Unlike Michigan and Northwestern, who saw significant changes in their attacking lines, Michigan State returns its top two scorers from their 2013 season and those two players are once again the focus of the Spartans' scoring. Michigan State is a potent offensive team. Their average of 3.06 goals per game entering the game with Penn State was 14th best in the nation. Conversely, they were yielding 2.04 goals per game which puts them barely in the top fifty.
Players to watch
Abby Barker, #5, senior, forward. Despite playing in only 20 of MSU's 24 games, Barker led the Spartans in goals scored in 2013 with 18. Her 38 total points also led the team. If anything, she's gotten off to an even better start in 2014 leading the team in goals (8), assists (6), and points (22).
Allie Ahearn, #17, senior, forward. Ahearn started all 24 games for Michigan State in 2013 and finished as the team's second leading goal and point producer with 13 goals and 4 assists. She has settled into that same spot behind Barker this season as the Spartans' second leading goal producer with six.
Stopping these two should be one of the keys to Maryland's success if they hope to pick up the road win. Between them, Barker and Ahearn have scored nearly 60 percent of Michigan State's goals.
The Terps are a perfect 3-0 in their previous meetings with the Spartans. However, this is likely a case where history has little meaning since the teams haven't met since 2001.