Wickes’ Brace punches No. 6 Spartans past Minnesota in B1G quarterfinals

Story Links MSU 2, MINN 1 (Box Score) EAST LANSING, Michigan – Michigan State’s sixth-ranked and best-seeded women’s soccer team went down with a goal less than five minutes into the game, but responded with a few goals from the sophomore forward Jordyn Wickes to score a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the eighth-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Big Ten Tournament at DeMartin Stadium on Sunday. The Spartans advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the fifth time in the history of the program and their first since 2011. MSU advanced on penalties with a 4-3 lead over sixth-seeded Iowa in the 2011 tournament to advance before she fell into a 1. -0 affair against second-seed Illinois. Michigan State climbs to 15-1-3 overall in the 2022 season, tying the single-season earnings record set by MSU’s inaugural team in 1986. The Green & White remain undefeated against Big Ten Conference opponents, improving their 9-0-1 regular season record with a quarterfinal win over cross-division rival Minnesota. The Golden Gophers close out their season with an 8-8-3 ledger coupled with a 4-4-2 B1G regular season effort. Minnesota was unbeaten in their last five games before dropping Sunday’s game in East Lansing. MSU built an 11-9 lead in total shot attempts and matched the Golden Gophers in shots on target 3-3. Against one of the best set-piece teams in the Big Ten, Michigan State delivered just five Minnesota corners and took seven of them herself. Individually, Wickes led the way with a pair of goals on three total shots, while graduate midfielder Celia Gaynor, senior defender Ruby Diodati and junior midfielder Zivana Labovic each provided one assist. Between the legs, senior keeper Lauren Kozal played all 90 minutes of the game, delivering a Golden Gopher score and racking up three saves in the game. Kozal set a new schedule record for a 15-season goalkeeper win, breaking a 1986 tie with Renee Richert to take the top spot on the standings. For Minnesota, Megan Plaschko conceded two goals and made a few saves in the losing decision. The Golden Gophers came out of the gate and fired on all cylinders, with a few shots on target and the opening score in the fifth minute. Junior midfielder Sophia Boman worked the ball down the right side of the field, sending a pass to graduate midfielder McKenna Buisman. After a few dribbles, Buisman fought into a clearing and sent a thumping 20-yarder into the back right corner of the goal for the icebreaker. MSU regained its position in the minutes that followed and found extra time in the Minnesota half of the field. The Spartans put pressure on Golden Gopher’s back line and took a corner kick, but Green-White didn’t take advantage. Two minutes later, Celia Gaynor made her way into a clearing just inside the 18 and made a well-started effort, but the shot sailed wide. Despite repeated scoring opportunities as the first half dwindled, nothing came of it and Minnesota drove the early score to a 1-0 lead at halftime. After the short break, Michigan State found renewed zeal and turned crucial set-piece possessions to score a few goals. The Spartans applied consistent pressure to the backline of the Minnesota defense, earning a corner shot in under six minutes into the second stanza. Although the Spartans couldn’t book the equalizer at the time, MSU’s sustained effort and intense attack forced another corner less than five minutes later. As usual, Diodati marched into the far northeast corner of DeMartin Stadium and lined up for a crucial attempt. Her serve sailed to the far post just outside the goal area, where Labovic picked up the ball and moved it just outside the opening of the net. Wickes fired in the right place, at the right time and with the right in the bottom right corner of the net for the equalizer. With the game tied, the Greens & Whites needed their offensive power to shine through in order to continue. MSU got another corner less than three minutes later and the Spartans continued to knock on the doorstep of a semi-final berth with 25 minutes to play. In the waning seconds of the 67th minute, Celia Gaynor sent a pinpoint feed to the far edge of the penalty area to Wickes. The sophomore star went to the right and sent a blast into the left back of the net for her fourth winning goal of the season. With the lead in hand, Michigan State got on the defensive and made it 2-1 to advance. POSTGAME QUOTESMICHIGAN STATE QUOTES Head Coach Jeff Hosler On the team’s message at halftime… “Come back and have the courage; that was our challenge to our team at halftime. We didn’t play Minnesota in the regular season. We were undefeated in the regular season, and we didn’t get a chance to play them, they had us in a difficult position, so it was really kind of playing that tune with our group. They obviously caused us some problems with their direct style. We had to come out and play with more of a sense of urgency. We didn’t have the same sense of intensity, frankly, didn’t have the same swagger that we had played with. We had to be that early.” About experiencing a real survival and progress environment… “It’s hard to come back in a 1-0 game. Especially with a team as direct as they are. I think our fans were important too, we had great support from fans today We really needed to involve them a bit more in the goal Despite all the chances we had in the first half there was nothing to get out of your seat so I think every chance in front of goal is important was for the second half.” Jordyn Wickes, sophomore forward With the support of the Michigan State fanbase… “We’re not doing this without them. If you’re talking about playing college football growing up, this is the environment you dream of. It’s a great standing in the stands and seeing them all packed, seeing all our Red Cedar Rowdies supporting our team, that’s what college football is all about.” SCORING SUMMARY 5′ – Boman worked the ball down the right side of the field and sent a pass to Buisman. After a few dribbles, Buisman fought into a clearing and sent a thumping 20-yarder into the back right corner of the goal for the icebreaker. MINN 1, MSU 0 55′ – Diodati served the corner attempt at the far post just outside the in-goal, where Labovic picked up the ball and pushed it just outside the opening of the net. Wickes fired at the right place, at the right time and with the right foot into the bottom right corner for the equalizer. MSU 1, MINN 1 67′ – Celia Gaynor sent Wickes a pinpoint feed to the far edge of the penalty area. The sophomore took a side step to the right and sent a blast into the back left section of the net. MSU 2, MINN 1 UP NEXT No. Michigan State women’s soccer continues the Big Ten Tournament game in the semifinals, as the Spartans challenge Nebraska in a kick-off at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. The Spartans and Buckeyes battle in the first semifinal at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, with the game set for national broadcast on the Big Ten Network. FOLLOW THE SPARTANS Visit MSUSpartans.com to learn more about women’s soccer in Michigan State. 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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