Sept. 3, 2010
College Park, Md. - Domenic Barone's header in the 96th minute was a golden goal for the Spartans, as they upset the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins, 4-3, on Friday evening in College Park, Maryland. Barone's goal gave 24th-ranked MSU the victory in a wild affair which saw three goals scored in the final 90 seconds of regulation, as well as a game-saving stop by senior Hermann Trophy candidate Avery Steinlage with four seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
Barone's game-winner came at 95:49, as he headed a crossing pass from Spencer Thompson almost on the right sideline. Barone was stationed in front of the net about five feet inside the box, and his shot went directly into the bottom left corner of the net - and sent the exuberant Spartan bench streaming onto the field in celebration.
"It really is one of the wildest games I've ever been a part of," admitted head coach Damon Rensing after the victory. "Im very, very proud of our team. These are two very good teams, and neither one would give up. Maryland had to fight to come back, and when our backs were against the wall, we came back, too. It was something we talked about before the game - and I was very, very happy to see the way we handled adversity.
Things had started well for Michigan State, taking a 1-0 lead into the intermission after a Maryland defender netted an own goal. Rubin Bega scored the first goal of the Spartan season in the 57th minute, giving the Spartans a nice cushion with just over 30 minutes to play.
The Terrapins, with two National Championships in the last half-decade, refused to roll over for their visitors, and upped their intensity and aggressiveness in an attempt to get back into the game. The Spartans narrowly missed a goal with about 30 minutes to go, which would have pushed their lead to 3-0; Maryland responded by pushing their offense, coming on in waves, and forcing the Spartans into a defensive posture and spending extended streaks of time in their defensive third. Matt Kassel finally broke through for the Terps, breaking up the shutout for MSU with his penalty-kick conversion in the 76th minute.
That goal shifted the momentum squarely in favor of the homestanding Terps, who put up 10 shots in the final 20 minutes of the contest. Kaoru Forbess knotted the score for Maryland in the 88th minute, on a beautiful volley off an assist from Matt Oduran. Forbess' goal came at 88:38, and at 88:51, the Terrapins completed their regulation comeback, getting a goal on a header by Doug Rodkey.
Rodkey's tally could have deflated the Spartans, but instead, they rallied to knot the score just nine seconds later. Brent Rosendall ended up with a breakaway off that midfield faceoff, and his first Spartan goal knotted the score at three and stunned the crowd of 4,500 who had assembled for the Terps' home opener.
Maryland had one last chance in regulation, and it was a stunning one - Doug Rodkey's header required a full-out stretch by Steinlage to punch away from the goalmouth and send the game to an extra session.
"Avery was absolutely special tonight," noted Rensing of his senior goalkeeper. "Maryland has one of, if not the best, atmospheres in college soccer. They have an unbelievable home crowd - and that crowd was all over him for every minute of tonight's game. There was nothing he could have done on the goals they scored, and made some unbelievable saves for us."
Steinlage finished his night with nine saves, while his counterpart, Zach McMath made two stops and allowed all four markers.
The 24th-ranked Spartans will have a day of training before wrapping up their road trip on Sunday at Georgetown at 1 p.m.
"I told our team - enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow, we get back to work," commented Rensing. "We have to focus on winning the game against Georgetown. Winning a game is one thing, but we need to focus now on winning the weekend."