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Around the Big Ten | Week 4 setting up a big Week 5 for Big Ten women’s soccer

Women's Soccer vs. Maryland, Coffey

Forward Sam Coffey (17) moves to takes possession of the ball from Maryland midfielder Loren Sefcik (16) as it is passed between players at the Penn State women's soccer match against Maryland on Friday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Jeffrey Field. Penn State won 5-1 against Maryland.  

Week 4 was a different week in the Big Ten with a shaken-up schedule that had multiple teams only playing one game a piece.

However, some of the games set up big-time fixtures for Week 5.

Above-average teams met with the best in the league, and other above-average teams started to pick up steam, preying on the weaker sides.

Week 4 set up for a big Week 5, with in-state rivals Michigan State and Michigan set to clash, clearing the uncertainty among the above-average teams.

Nonetheless, here are Week 4 storylines of the week.

Wolverines take a tumble

Last week, Michigan went to Purdue and came out with an upset win.

However, in their latest performance, the Wolverines were met with another powerhouse in the Big Ten.

After a road trip to West Lafayette, Michigan was faced with another road trip to take on the best team in the conference — Rutgers.

Prior to their tilt with the Wolverines, the Scarlet Knights were the only Big Ten team left with a clean sheet at 4-0.

Michigan came into the game toward the top of the pack with a record of 3-0-2.

The best team in the conference looked like just that, stomping the Wolverines 4-1, and handing Michigan its first conference loss of the season.

The league's leading goal scorer, senior midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri, continued to contribute in a big way offensively, finishing the match with another goal and an assist.

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Rutgers did something it hasn’t really done all season: Spread the wealth.

In the four goals the Scarlet Knights scored, all four of them came from different players.

This season, Tagliaferri leads the team with 10 goals, and the next most have come from sophomore midfielder Sam Kroeger with five.

The Wolverines could not stop the poachers in the Rutgers frontline, conceding the most goals in one game they have allowed all season with four.

Rutgers proved, yet again, that it is in a league of its own in the Big Ten week after week.

Spartans build momentum

This season in the Big Ten, it goes Rutgers, Purdue and the field, but one team is starting to put its name in the upper echelon of 2021 Big Ten teams.

Michigan State is picking up speed with a two-game win streak going into the fifth week of conference play.

In the past three games, the Spartans have gone 2-0-1, ending Week 4 with a conference record of 4-1-1.

The only Big Ten loss Michigan State has came at the hands of Wisconsin, 1-0, early in the season.

The Spartans’ defense is one of the best in the league, ranking second with only eight goals allowed.

However, in the coming games, Michigan State has two major tests in Michigan and Rutgers.

Michigan is coming off a blowout loss to Rutgers, while the Spartans are flying high following a 1-0 victory over Ohio State.

Right now, Michigan State has the third-best record in the Big Ten with Michigan right behind the Spartans.

The in-state rivalry should declare which team is the third-best team in the conference.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten

The Nittany Lions picked up a much-needed, 5-1 win over Maryland this week after falling 4-1 to Minnesota.

The usurpers Purdue defeated Minnesota in a shootout, 3-2, picking up its fifth conference win of the season.

Rutgers was one of the few teams to play two games this week and finished with two victories, remaining undefeated in the Big Ten.

On the other hand, Nebraska is still winless in the conference after a 3-2 defeat to Michigan.

Indiana grabbed another three points against Northwestern, topping the Wildcats 1-0, setting up its road tilt with Penn State on Oct. 13.

Two mid-table teams in Illinois and Wisconsin turned their matchup into a two-overtime odyssey and ended the game in a 1-1 draw.

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