East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State suffered its second straight out-of-region loss on Friday, falling at Harvard, 1-0. The Spartans once again had chances, but could not get the offense it needed in failing to score for the fourth time in five games. The Spartans are 1-3-1 overall, and turn their attentions to earning a road split in a Sunday matinee at Providence.
"It was a disappointing result today, in that I don't think we showed the proper amount of urgency in certain situations," said head coach Damon Rensing. "A credit to Harvard - they got the early goal, and managed their lead well. As for us, we needed to play with a little more sense of urgency in certain situations, as we played down a goal for most of the game. We'll move on and prepare for Providence, and fight to get a better outcome."
The Crimson got all the offense they would need when it took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Jake Freeman took the ball up the right side, got around the Spartan defender at the top of the box, and rifled a low shot that eluded the outstretched arms of keeper Bryce Dobbins.
The Spartans had chances in the opening half, but following the script of recent games, the ball would not find the back of the net. Kevin Cope's header in the 39th minute was saved off the line at the last second, and with 90 seconds remaining, Brent McIntosh's offering sailed over the crossbar. As the final seconds ticked down in the half, Kyle Rutz sent a corner kick in from the right side, but Ryan Thelen's laser was beaten out by the clock expiring, allowing the home team the 1-0 haltime advantage.
Harvard came out and nearly doubled their lead in the 52nd minute, as Freeman bid for his second of the game. However, Dobbins came up with a big save to keep it a one-goal game.
As the Spartans countered at the other end, Harvard goalie Evan Mendez earned himself a red card when he threw himself on a ball outside of the box to thwart an MSU scoring chance. He was spelled by freshman keeper Joe Festa, who saw immediate action as the Spartans were awarded a free kick 20 from 20 yards out. Kevin Cope's offering went just wide, to the left of the goalcage.
Freeman had a bid for his second of the day with just over 31 minutes remaining, but Dobbins knocked it away to keep the Spartans' hopes alive. The Spartans kept pressing for the equalizer. Fatai Alashe had a chance in the 78th minute that he tapped just wide, and Cope had a second free-kick opportunity that sailed over the crossbar.
Dobbins made three saves in the Spartans third one-goal loss of the season.
The Spartans outshot their hosts 13-8, and had two corners to the Crimson's three. Shots on goal were recorded as three a side. Michigan State will be in action again on Sunday afternoon when it plays at Providence.