EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State women’s soccer downed Marshall, 5-1, on Sunday afternoon on a record-setting day at DeMartin Stadium. The team improves to 2-0-0 on the season, while Marshall falls to 0-2-0.
Sophomore forward Gia Wahlberg achieved the rare haul with four first-half goals, which are the first four goals of her career. The four goals by Wahlberg set a record for the most goals in a first-half at DeMartin Stadium. The five goals total marks a new record for goals in a game and the most goals scored at DeMartin Stadium.
Wahlberg is the first Spartan to record four goals in a game since Lauren Hill scored four goals versus Western Michigan in the 2006 season.
“That was certainly a bright sign, especially on a Sunday. It’s the second day of a weekend of play so sometimes you tend to come out sluggish,” head coach Tom Saxton said. “We really talked about making sure we come out and make a statement in the first five because we didn’t do that as well on Thursday night. That was great to see, so we checked that box. We challenged them after halftime and despite conceding a goal, I thought the quality of work and play was better in the second half, so that was a good sign.”
The Spartans started off strong, scoring two goals in the opening five minutes of play. In the second minute, Wahlberg received a pass from junior midfielder Bella Jodzis on the left side and out-ran the Thundering Herd defense, burying the ball in the back of the net.
At the four-minute mark, Wahlberg tallied her second of the game, off a rebounded shot by sophomore forward Camryn Evans.
After grabbing an early lead, the Spartan attack didn’t let up throughout the first half. Wahlberg beat Marshall goalkeeper Lindsay Langely twice more in the opening 45 minutes. She fired a shot from the top of the box in the 20th minute, off another assist by Evans, to increase the Spartans’ lead.
Wahlberg’s fourth goal came two minutes later, as she tapped a loose ball, created by freshman
forward Paige Webber and junior midfielder Danielle Stephan, in front into the back of the net.
Michigan State started the second-half with a 4-0 advantage and didn’t let up on either the offensive or defensive sides of the ball. The MSU backline proved strong, anchored by senior midfield Michaela Kovacs and senior defender Kassidy Madrigal.
The Thundering Herd got on the board in the 59th minute off a penalty shot. Rene Ross took the penalty shot for Marshall, which was saved by redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Lauren Kozal. Ross then got her own rebound and put the ball in the back of the Spartan net.
Goal number five of the match was scored by Kovacs in the 84th minute off a free kick by junior defender Athena Biondi. A Marshall foul set up a free kick for the Spartans outside of the box. Biondi’s free kick found the head of Kovacs, who was able to send the ball past Langely.
Kozal started her second consecutive game in net, tallying her second career win. Kozal had three saves, including two in the second-half.
“It’s incredibly important (to win at home); We need to protect DeMartin, this is our turf,” Saxton said. “We drill that into them. We have to come back Thursday and do the same thing. If we do well on our home field then we’ll do well during the season.”
UP NEXT: The Spartans conclude its three match home-stretch to begin the 2019 campaign as the team plays host to Eastern Michigan on Thursday, Aug. 29. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. under the lights at DeMartin Stadium.