East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State got a pair of goals from fullbacks Kelsey Mullen and Annie Steinlage as the Spartans defeated Akron, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon. Steinlage's game-winner came in the 81st minute to get the Spartans back on the winning side of the ledger and improve to 4-1-0 on the season.
Mullen's blast from 30 yards out gave MSU a lead in the 28th minute. A shot attempt was cleared out by the Akron defense, and bounced out to Mullen and Jordan Muller. Mueller tapped the ball to settle it, but left it to Mullen, and she rocketed it off the crossbar and into the back of the net. It was her first goal of the season, with assists going to Mueller and Steinlage.
The Spartans dominated the Zips in the opening half, outshooting the visitors by a 9-1 margin (6-0 on net) and had nine corner kicks to Akron's zero.
"I thought that today, we were resilient, and fought back after Akron tied the game," said head coach Tom Saxton. "I think that from a team perspective, W are still fighting tout the game - to be taking care of and paying attention to the little things during the match.
"It was great to see our fullbacks get goals today," continued Saxton. "Kelsey scored a great goal, and with how hard she works, it was really nice to see her get rewarded. We know that Annie's dangerous, and she scored a really nice goal today. It's nice for the two of them to get a little glory, because as defenders, it's not a position that usually gets their names in the paper. "
Akron gained the equalizer in the 65th minute. Taking a pass from senior Ashley Hughes, Megan Waskowski had the ball in the left side of the box with a defender to her left, and right-footed a shot that eluded the hands of a diving Courtney Clem for her team-best second goal of the season.
MSU will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Oakland for a 7 p.m. contest.
The Spartans kept pressing, looking to pull ahead. MSU had several near-misses - Akron keeper Alex Luevano-Harden made a couple of nice saves, and the Spartans had a couple shots sail just wide or get stopped by the defense when they were in deep. Steinlage's go-ahead goal came in the 81st minute, as her long shot from the right side 35 yards out sailed past Luevano-Harden. It was Steinlage's second goal of the season.