No. 10 Men's Soccer Drops First Exhibition to No. 6 Washington
Spartans downed by Huskies, 1-0 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - No. 10 Michigan State men's soccer fell to No. 6 Washington, 1-0, at the Shindigz National Soccer Festival Thursday evening.
"First off, I'd like to thank Terry Stefankiewicz, Nicole Krause and those who were involved in the Shindigz National Soccer Festival," said head coach Damon Rensing. "They were great hosts and it's a great tournament for us to get a chance to evaluate our guys. I certainly want to thank them for having us."
A total of 24 Spartans saw action in the exhibition match. Stepping up in the absence of graduates Ryan Thelen and All-American Kevin Cope, transfer Zach Carroll and freshman Brad Centala made their Spartan debuts, starting in the back line.
"I thought we had a couple guys step up and show some things," Rensing said. "Brad Centala played his first game at left back. He was pretty solid ... a very good starting point. (Ken) Krolicki came in and played pretty well at right mid. Jason Stacey had a decent night at left wing.
"It was good to see Zach Carroll settle in his first game. Certainly, we have some things to work out with him and (Ryan) Keener, with two center backs, but that duo can be good as we continue to work at it."
In the 29th minute of play, Huskie senior Darwin Jones netted the only goal off a touch from sophomore Mason Robertson. Jones was named first-team Pac-12 in 2013 with seven goals, including one in the opening round of NCAA Tournament.
"Sometimes, there are things that look good in practice," said Rensing. "I thought they took away some things we were trying to do and made it difficult for us. I thought in the first half, we needed to be better on the ball and just general possession. The lack of possession forced us to defend too much. I think we got tired on a hot night and ultimately gave up a goal due to that."
Nearing the end of the half, a good volley from Adam Montague was saved, leaving the half scoreless for the Spartans.
"I thought the guys really responded well in the second half," Rensing said. "I thought for the most part, even though both teams had some chances, that it was a fairly even game in the second half. It was a great game for evaluation for us."
Post-exhibition, the two squads scrimmaged extra time to allow the extended lineups an early chance at intercollegiate play.
"Good teams are able to adjust and improve. That's what we're going to have to do for Sunday. I think the team showed that (mentality) between halves. I thought we took some things from the first half and adjusted in the second."
The Spartans will step onto their home pitch for the first time Sunday, Aug. 24 when they play their final exhibition against Stevens Institute at noon.