Kaleigh Olmsted

What To Watch For: Michigan State

Sept. 5, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s season-opening winning streak came to an end on Friday as the No. 6/4 Fighting Irish settled for a 2-2 tie with Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. The Irish will look to get back on the winning track Sunday when they head to Michigan State for a showdown with the Spartans.

WHAT: Match 6
WHO: No. 6/4 Notre Dame (4-0-1) vs. Michigan State (3-0-1)
WHERE: DeMartin Soccer Complex (East Lansing, Michigan)
WHEN: Noon (ET) – September 5, 2015

Here are the five things you should know as the Irish and Spartans face off for the first time since 2008 when the teams met in the second round of the NCAA Championship.

Scouting Michigan State: The Spartans will be well-rested when they welcome Notre Dame on Sunday, with a full week between matches giving Michigan State fresh legs.

The 3-0-1 Spartans are coming off a 2-1 win over Dayton in their home opener August 30, 2015 after tying Oakland 1-1 on the road on August 27. Michigan State has also recorded wins over Niagara and Baylor.

The Spartans are led on offense by senior midfielder Kirsten Evans, who has buried two goals on the season, while Lexy Warner and Jamie Cheslik have three points apiece. Warner, a freshman, was named the Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week on Tuesday. Seniors Allyson Krause and defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz join Cheslik as the Spartans’ top returning scorers. Fiebernitz anchors the Spartan back line, but is featured in set pieces and will take penalty kicks and dead balls for Michigan State, making her an overall threat.

The Last Time They Met: The NCAA Championship was the meeting place the last time Notre Dame and Michigan State teed off, in a second-round contest in at Alumni Stadium, where Notre Dame prevailed 1-0. In that meeting with Michigan State, the No. 1 Irish played 72 scoreless minutes before midfielder Rose Augustin found the net on the only Notre Dame score of the day, despite a 29-3 Irish edge in shots. The win helped the Irish remain undefeated and untied on the season, and Notre Dame went on to play for the national title.

Serially Speaking: Notre Dame is 11-2 in the series with Michigan State, including 5-1 in matches held in East Lansing. The Spartans took the first two matches of the series in 1988 and 1989, but the Irish have won 11 straight, most recently a 1-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2008, held at Alumni Field. Notre Dame has outscored Michigan State 42-10 in the series and has pitched a shutout in their last four meetings.

Last Time Out: The Irish didn’t win for the first time this season on Friday when they tied with Western Michigan in a 2-2 contest at the WMU Soccer Complex in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (3) and sophomore attacker Meghan Doyle (1, first of career) notched goals for the Irish, but Notre Dame allowed two goals from Bronco forward Emma Kahn to result in the tie score. Notre Dame outshot Western Michigan 21-3, owned a 6-2 edge in shots on goal and held a 9-0 advantage on corner kicks.

Playing Possession: The Irish have controlled the game in nearly every respect through their first four matches, outshooting opponents 121-8 and outscoring them 15-3. Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson leads the Irish with 29 shots, three goals and seven points, while freshman attacker Natalie Jacobs follows close behind with 24 shots and six points.

Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame women’s soccer are on sale now. Visit UND.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.

For the latest Fighting Irish women’s soccer coverage, be sure log on to UND.com, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Soccer on Facebook.

– Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant