Women's Soccer Hosts Utah Valley, Marshall in Opening Week of Play

MSU soccer team
Posted at 8:35 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 20:35:25-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State women's soccer officially kicks off the 2019-20 Spartan athletic season with two home regular season matchups. The team will host Utah Valley in the home opener on Thursday, Aug. 22 under the lights at DeMartin Stadium at 7 p.m. MSU continues its home stretch on Sunday, Aug. 25 against Marshall at 1 p.m.

Two early goals by sophomores Camryn Evans [] and Gia Wahlberg[] pushed the Spartans past Toledo, 2-0, in the team's only exhibition match on Aug. 17. Junior Danielle Stephan [] tallied two assists and redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Lauren Kozal [] earned a shutout in net with three saves.

Three players were named to the Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Honors list. Sophomore forward Camryn Evans [], senior defender Michaela Kovacs[] and freshman defender Bria Schrotenboer [] represent the Spartans in the preseason honors list.

Evans, who led the team with seven goals and 14 points as a freshman, returns to the lineup for her sophomore campaign. Evans shined in her rookie season and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshmen Team. She was tied for the team lead with two game-winning goals and scored two goals three times, against Green Bay (8/22), Oakland (9/6) and Purdue (9/13)

Kovacs, a native of Hudsonville, Michigan, is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and two-year captain. In 2018, Kovacs anchored the middle of a backline that allowed one goal through the first six games and started the season with four-straight shutouts.

Schrotenboer, a freshman from Holland, Michigan, begins her rookie season for the Spartans. Schrotenboer led Midwest United FC to the 2019 U-18/19 Girls Academy Championship and won the U-18/19 Girls Golden Ball as the postseason's best player. She is one of three freshmen on the preseason honors list.

Michigan State has a veteran team in 2019, as the Spartans return all 11 starters and all six goal-scorers from last season.

Senior goalkeeper Reilley Ott [] enters her third season as the Spartan netminder this season. Ott had six shutouts and finished the 2018 season with a 1.16 goals against average.

This will be the first meeting between the Michigan State Spartans and Utah Valley Wolverines in program history. Utah Valley finished the 2018 season with a 5-14-2 record and a 3-4-1 mark in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

The Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament last season, backed by returning all-WAC honorees Hannah Bruce and Madeline Moore.

In addition to the team's six returning starters, sophomore Sadie Brockbank returns to the lineup for her sophomore season after posting eight goals and four assists for a team-high 20 points during her rookie season in 2018.

The matchup between the Spartans and the Herd will also be a first. Marshall went 5-9-3 overall last season, with a 3-6-1 conference record.

Forward Marah Abu-Tayeh was named to the C-USA Preseason Team after tallying a team-leading eight goals last season. Abu-Tayeh earned second-team all-conference honors to end her junior campaign.

The Herd will kick off its season at Michigan on Aug. 22, before making the trip to East Lansing.

"We all recognize, with a veteran team, how important it is to get off to a positive start. The exhibition game went well in general, so we're confident. We have to be at our very best Thursday night. It should be an electric atmosphere and a fast-paced game. We are going to have to be great in all phases of the game. What we're really looking to do is get off to a great start early, like we did Saturday night."

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