Michigan State Wins Tournament Title Defeating Penn State, 5-3

The Spartans celebrate after their first goal

The Spartans celebrate after their first goal

Nov. 9, 2003

STATE COLLEGE, PA - The Michigan State Spartans won the 2003 Big Ten field hockey tournament, defeating host team Penn State in Sunday's championship final, 5-3. It is the second straight tournament title for the Green and White, after winning only one tournament game prior to 2002.

Michigan State wasted little time, putting itself on the scoreboard early and often. Just one minute and 42 seconds into the championship game, junior midfielder Veerle Goudswaard tallied the Spartan's initial point on the game's first penalty corner. Sophomore Breanna Harpstead and junior Annabet Beerman were each credited with an assist. The Spartans also took advantage of their second penalty corner, when Alexandra Kyser scored at the 27:18 mark, and Beerman earning another assist. The tally was Kyser's third of the tournament.

Sophomore forward Michelle Huynh-Ba struck next for Michigan State when she hit the back of the net, unassisted, at 25:08, stretching the Spartan lead to 3-0.

Penn State may have been feeling the effects of Saturday's intense, 1-0 overtime game against Michigan. The Nittany Lions showed signs of being tired, playing at a slowed tempo in the opening 35 minutes.

Penn State defends a corner

The Lions came out of the half energized, and had an opportunity to score two minutes into the period when Heather Conroy launched a powerful penalty shot. However, Spartan goalkeeper Christina Kirkaldy made an impressive diving save to keep the score 3-0.

Michigan State responded at 29:15 when Goudswaard put another penalty corner ball into the net. Beerman recorded another assist on the play, along with sophomore Jessica Miller. Beerman's three assists on Sunday, and five assists for the weekend, both tie tournament records.

The Spartans scored a fourth penalty corner goal five minutes later when Huynh-Ba put up her second tally of the day, with two more assists from Goudswaard and Miller.

However, the Nittany Lions would not give up. Senior Timarie Legel, the hero of Penn State's semifinal match, notched the Lions first goal of the game when she scored, unassisted, at 21:16. Then, at the 16:32 mark, Sara Cahill recorded her third goal of the season, with an assist coming from junior Amanda Eckert. Four minutes later, Legel put the ball back in the goal, scoring for the 17th time this season. The three second half goals definitely energized the Nittany Lions and the noisy Penn State crowd, bringing the game to a new level.

The Penn State comeback effort, however, was not enough as Michigan State held on to win, 5-2. The Spartans earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament with the victory.

Twelve players were voted to the 2003 All-Tournament team including: Lydia Schrott, IU; Lauren Striver, Iowa; Diane Provencher, NU; Kristi Gannon, April Fronzoni, MICH; Saskia Mueller, Curlyne Wynn, OSU; Timarie Legel, Neilye Stoner, PSU; Christina Kirkaldy, Jessica Miller, and Alexandra Kyser, MSU. Kyser was also named the tournament MVP.



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