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Michigan State women’s soccer opens season over past weekend 1-0-1

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Michigan State at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan State women’s soccer team began its second season under head coach Jeff Hosler this past week with a two-game road trip and emerged 1-0-1 on the weekend. The Spartans defeated Bowling Green 2-0 on Thursday and tied Cincinnati on Sunday, notching a 0-0 shutout.

The victory over the Falcons marked the 25th season-opening win by the Spartans in program history and the 11th in a row, moving MSU to 25-8-4 all-time in opening games for the season. A loss to Milwaukee in 2011 was the last season-opening defeat by MSU.

The Spartans had a number of advantages in Thursday’s opening match, including a 9-3 corner kick margin, a 17-7 shots attempted lead, and an edge of 9-4 shots on goal. All combined to give Michigan State its first shutout since defeating Maryland 2-0 in conference play on Oct. 21, 2021.

MSU scored in the 12th minute thanks to a shot by freshman forward Maggie Illig that bounced off the keeper’s glove to senior forward Lauren DeBeau on the left side of the box who converted it to a goal. Illig was recorded with an assist on the play.

Camryn Evans in the second half earned a penalty kick after a Falcon foul in the penalty area in the 52nd minute. Evans sent the ball into the top right corner of the net for MSU’s second goal of the night. BGSU earned a pair of yellow cards in the remaining time, being shown them in the 66th and 79th minutes.

Lauren Kozal played the full 90 minutes in goal for Michigan State, notching three saves and her 14th shutout of her career. It also moved Koazal to ninth place in the all-time wins list at Michigan State with 19.

The win moves Michigan State to 19-1-3 all-time versus Bowling Green.

Michigan State posted a number of advantages once again in a road game at Gettler Stadium Sunday, home of the Cincinnati Bearcats. However, the team was unable to get a win while posting a second-straight shutout on the season. The game also saw over an hour delay beginning in the 23rd minute due to lightning in the area.

MSU won the possession battle 53 percent-47 percent, posted a 10-5 edge in shots, and an 8-1 corner kick lead. However, two shots on goal were not able to get through for the Spartans, while Kozal notched the 15th shutout of her career, and second consecutive, while playing all 90 minutes in goal for the Spartans, making one save in the first half.

Redshirt freshman Justina Gaynor got a shot on goal for Michigan State in the 52nd minute, but it bounced off the post out of play. Graduate midfielder Celia Gaynor also got a shot on goal in the 59th minute in a one-on-one with the Bearcat goalie, but the keeper managed to best her and keep it 0-0.

Overall, the Spartans earned three yellow cards, including a second issued to Reagan Cox in the 85th minute after she ran into the keeper. Despite that resulting in Michigan State playing the remainder of the match shorthanded, the team held on for the draw.

This marks the second season in a row that the Spartans opened the season with a two-game shutout after managing the same in 2021 against Detroit Mercy and Eastern Michigan. It also marks the fifth-straight season MSU has opened the season undefeated through the first two games.

Michigan State returns to East Lansing next for the home season opener at DeMartin Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 25 against the Central Michigan Chippewas in a 7 p.m. kick.