DeBeau Books Spartans’ Second-Straight Hat Trick, MSU Routs Illinois in B1G Opener

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Senior forward Lauren DeBeau booked Michigan State’s second consecutive hat trick, and the Spartan women’s soccer team rode a dominant second half to a 3-0 rout of the Illinois Fighting Illini to open Big Ten play on Sunday at Demirjian Park.
 
DeBeau’s offensive outburst comes on the heels of another Spartan hat trick by graduate forward Camryn Evans on Sept. 11 in the 4-2 upset of then-No. 19 Colorado in East Lansing. The result marks the first time in program history that two different Spartan players have secured three-goal games in back-to-back contests. According to available records, DeBeau’s hat trick in 11:02 of elapsed game time is the fastest in Michigan State history.
 
The Spartans open conference play undefeated for the third-straight year and have notched victories in their Big Ten opener in both seasons of head coach Jeff Hosler‘s tenure. MSU rises to 6-1-2 overall on the year while Illinois drops to 5-3-1 with an 0-1 ledger in Big Ten action. The Green & White recorded their fourth victory over the Illini in the history of the series dating back to the 1997 season, and their first win against Illinois since Sept. 20, 2002.
 
In the box score, the Spartans ran up a commanding 18-12 edge in shots with a 11-4 differential in shots on goal. MSU did an expert job of pressuring the Illini back line, culminating in a 7-1 margin in corner kicks for the afternoon. DeBeau led the way in every statistical category, attempting six total shots with all of them on target, in addition to her three-goal effort. Senior defender Raegan Cox, graduate midfielder Celia Gaynor, junior midfielder Justina Gaynor and senior midfielder Zivana Labovic all took home one assist each.
 
MSU maintained a solid attack early in the run of play, surrendering limited scoring chances for Illinois while applying serious pressure on the offensive end. The Spartans attempted eight shots in the opening 45, with five of them on goal, but the Illini keeper managed to maintain the scoreless draw to the break. A couple of high-speed counterattack opportunities presented themselves in the 22nd and 34th minutes, with Evans and freshman midfielder Courtney Koehler placing a pair of scoring chances on net to no avail.
 
The Spartans came out of the intermission with a vengeance, dominating every facet of the game within the first minute of the second half. DeBeau cracked open the offensive floodgates in the 48th minute of action, when Celia Gaynor’s pass from about 35 yards out drove towards the box. DeBeau spun off her defender, received the pass and worked into a one-on-one situation with the keeper that resulted in the icebreaker.
 
Fewer than five minutes elapsed before DeBeau sent in the brace, as Cox blazed down the right side of the field and served up an elite dish about eight yards from the net. DeBeau met the ball with her right foot before it landed and sailed a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.
 

The Green & White recorded their third and final score on DeBeau’s right boot, as Justina Gaynor and Labovic worked the ball from the far-left side of the field to the middle of the penalty box on the right with a pair of crisp feeds. DeBeau chipped the ball above the keeper’s glove from 13 yards out into the top-center portion of the net. MSU played for possession the rest of the way and stymied the Illini offense to finalize the 3-0 result.
 
Senior Lauren Kozal tended goal for the Spartans and played the totality of Sunday’s contest, snagging four saves while earning her sixth shutout of the 2022 campaign. Kozal also took home the winning decision, her second-straight victory and sixth of the year. For Illinois, Julia Cili stood watch over the net for 90 minutes and saved seven shots against three goals, taking the loss in the process.
 
SCORING SUMMARY
48′ – Celia Gaynor sent a slick feed DeBeau’s way from about 35 yards out, and DeBeau spun off her defender and dribbled her way into a one-on-one situation against the keeper. Her right-footed shot from nine yards out found the bottom center of the net for the icebreaker. MSU 1, ILL 0
 
52′ – Cox blazed down the righthand side of the field and delivered a pinpoint pass to about eight yards away from the goal. DeBeau met the ball in the air with her right foot and placed it into the bottom left corner of the net. MSU 2, ILL 0
 
59′ – Justina Gaynor opened things up on the left side of the field and moved the ball to Labovic, whose pass breezed by a horde of Illini to a waiting DeBeau. The senior completed her hat trick by chipping the ball over the keeper’s outstretched glove from about 13 yards out into the top-center of the goal. MSU 3, ILL 0
 
UP NEXT
Michigan State women’s soccer returns to the friendly confines of DeMartin Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 22, when the Spartans welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to Old College Field for a 7 p.m. kick.
 
FOLLOW THE SPARTANS
Visit MSUSpartans.com for more information on Michigan State women’s soccer. Fans can keep up to date with the Spartan women’s soccer team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by following @MSU_WSoccer.


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