East Lansing, Mich. - Fullback Annie Steinlage scored on a header in the 98th minute to snap a 1-1 tie to give Michigan State a 2-1 win over Purdue in its 2012 Big Ten opener. The victory, the team's third straight, pushes MSU's unbeaten streak to five games and improves the Spartans'record to 7-1-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play.
Purdue took the early lead in the 15th minute when Hadley Stuart crossed the ball into the box from the right side, where it was knocked around before eventually finding its way through to a wide-open Jordan Pawlik. Pawlik was standing just a couple yards off of the goal line when she received the pass, and had an easy look for her seventh goal of the season. The goal marked just the second time this year that Michigan State has allowed their opponent to score first, the other coming in a 1-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton.
In the 37th minute, the Spartans turned the field quickly on the Boilermakers when Chelsea Peterson sent in a ball from just past midfield that found Allyson Krause. With a defender on her right hip, Krause took a couple dribbles before sending in a left footed strike from 10 yards out and into the bottom right of the net to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was Krause's second of the year, with assists being awarded to Peterson and Rachel Vanpoppelen.
"That goal was huge because if you go into the half down one, your heads get down," said head coach Tom Saxton. "It really helped to allow us to recognize that we were in the game."
Michigan State had a majority of the scoring chances in the second half, but couldn't convert on late chances despite outshooting the Boilermakers (6-3) and having a 2-0 edge on corner kicks.
"I told them not to try and force the issue," said Saxton. "Stay home, and the chances will come. If we can make the play, we will get the win."
After a scoreless second half, the game headed to overtime, where the Spartans found the scoring touch. With a minute remaining in the first overtime, Olivia Stander took a corner from the left side and connected with Anne Steinlage whose header found the back of the net, giving the Spartans a 2-1 victory. The assist was Stander's team-best sixth on the season.
"It was a good opportunity and I was able to break free on my mark, and Olivia was able to serve a great ball," said Steinlage. "It was huge because it was a Big Ten win and it gives us confidence going into an away weekend."
"That's a huge win for us," agreed Saxton. "I felt good about how we were playing. I knew Purdue could get us at any moment, and to come away with three points at home is big. The most important thing this win does is give us confidence."
Michigan State will now travel to Wisconsin for a game on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by a game at Minnesota on Sunday. The Spartans next home game will take place Friday, September 28th against Nebraska at 4 p.m.