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Spartans, Crusaders Draw in Season Opener

Bryce Dobbins

Aug. 24, 2012

Box Score

WATCH: Men's Soccer Highlights

East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State's men's soccer team battled to a scoreless draw with Valparaiso on Friday afternoon in the season opener for both teams. Redshirt junior Bryce Dobbins earned a shutout and four saves in his first collegiate start.

We're not happy, but also, Im not disappointed," said head coach Damon Rensing. ". I thought the team defended well as a unit, and by that, I mean from the forwards back. We thought if we did were able to do that, our chances would come. Obviously, we need to create a little more and be a little more dangerous in the offensive third. Valparaiso is very well coached, and they were organized and tough to break down. You have to adjust to certain things in a game, and sometimes we did that well today, but other times we didn't. Going forward, I think that we need to create more chances, put ourselves in some good positions, and make better decisions in the final third."

The game was truly a defensive battle, as the Spartans held a slim 2-0 lead in shots on net at the half and Valparaiso did not record its first shot on net until the 55th minute of play. Much of the game was played in the middle third of the field for the better part of 75 minutes, with some late chances coming for both teams as the minutes ticked away in regulation.

Valpo had perhaps their best chances on restarts over the final 13 minutes, with top returning scorer Charles Barden putting a couple of dangerous balls in play. The Spartans had a chance in the 88th minute, when freshman Jay Chapman dished off a shot to Adam Montague, but keeper Kyle Zobek punched it harmlessly away to send the teams to overtime.

Chapman had another chance to be a hero with three minutes elapsed in the first overtime period, but his header went wide; in the 99th minute, a corner kick for the Crusaders was inserted by Barden, but centerback Ryan Keener headed it out of danger and the teams headed into a second overtime period.

MSU had the best chance in that second overtime, in the 108th minute. Parker Seymour took the restart for the Spartans about 20 yards out, but his offering sailed over the left upper 90.

Junior keeper Bryce Dobbins had four saves for the Spartans in his varsity debut. MSU went to double overtime in its season opener for the second straight season.

The Crusaders had a slim 4-3 edge in shots on goal and 3-2 in corner kicks. Fouls were 24-19 in favor of the Spartans.

The Spartans host New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon at 2:15 p.m.



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