EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan State women’s soccer team came into the final day of the regular season needing a win and some help to claim a second straight Big Ten championship.
Entering play, Penn State held the top spot in the conference with 21 points. Michigan State and Nebraska were tied for second with 20 points each.
Teams earn three points for a conference win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss.
So on the final day, the Spartans needed to win their game against Iowa and needed Penn State to lose or draw with Wisconsin to earn at least a share of the title. They could have won it outright if Nebraska also lost to Illinois.
The uncertainty of the other game’s results added to the drama of the day, as all games kicked off at 1 p.m. ET.
Michigan State took care of business against Iowa, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back. Maggie Illig, Bella Najera and Celia Gaynor all scored in a 3-0 Spartan victory.
MSU head coach Jeff Hosler didn’t allow his team to keep up with what was happening in the Penn State game, wanting them to focus on the task at hand.
But with about a minute to go and the game in hand, Hosler called over graduate defender Raegan Cox and gave her some news to break to the rest of the team on the bench: Penn State had just lost to Wisconsin, 1-0, and the Spartans were one minute away from becoming Big Ten champions.
As the smiles and excitement erupted from the MSU sideline, the players still in the game quickly realized what was happening. Celia and Justina Gaynor described the feeling of the moment in the video below:
It’s the second time in his three-year tenure Hosler has led MSU to the Big Ten title. Nebraska defeated Illinois 4-2, so the Spartans and Cornhuskers finish as co-Big Ten Champions.
Michigan State holds the tiebreaker over Nebraska and will be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.