Sept. 14, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. -- - No. 3/8 Notre Dame scored in each half and posted a 2-0 victory over Michigan State on Friday evening in South Bend, Ind. The Spartans suffer their fourth shutout loss of the season and fall to 2-4-1 overall, and turn their attention to a home contest with Marquette on Sunday to complete the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. Bryce Dobbins finished with two saves on the evening.
"Theres certainly positives that we're taking from our recent games, and there's progress being made even though we aren't being rewarded on the scoreboard," said head coach Damon Rensing, who's seen his team complete toe-to-toe with a pair of top-five teams over the last three weeks. "Today, a couple bounces didn't go our way, but our guys kept going. The real difference today is that they had a bit more quality in final third, and complete credit to Notre Dame for that. Their goals came on two really great shots for them.
"I was happy to see that our guys stayed with it, and kept going when we went down 2-0," continued Rensing. " We were a little unlucky - Domenic [Barone] hit the crossbar early in the second half, which would have made it 1-1 at the time, and would have changed the complexion of the game there. We were unfortunate not to get on the board.
"We really have, as a team, been making strides," concluded the head coach. "Now, it's time for us to get over this quickly and get ready for a good Marquette team on Sunday."
The Spartans had not lost a game by more than one goal since Oct. 24, 2010, when they fell at home to Indiana, 3-0. MSU had its run of 21 consecutive games overall settled by a goal or less snapped, dating back to a 3-0 Spartan victory over New Hampshire in East Lansing last September.
Harrison Shipp gave the home team a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. He chipped a shot from just beyond the 18-yard box that sailed just past the outstretched arms of a diving Bryce Dobbins.
The continuing story for the Spartans have been the ability to create scoring chances, but watching those chances come up just short. On the evening, the disparity on the stat sheet was slim - Notre Dame held a 17-14 edge overall in shots, with each team firing off 10 in the second half. The Irish had two more corner kicks (8-6) and the two additional shots on net they recorded (the Irish held a 4-2 edge in that category) accounted for their two tallies.
Early in the second half, Barone's shot caromed off the crossbar, denying the Spartans an equalizing tally. MSU had several chances on the evening - a pair of Luke Norman offerings sailed just over the crossbar, and a couple of other chances skitted just wide - futher extending MSU's struggles with getting the ball into the net.
In the 53rd minute, the Irish got an insurance goal from Patrick Hodan off a corner play. He finished off a shot from 20 yards, depositing it in the bottom right corner of the net.
MSU will host Marquette on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 to complete the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. The women's team hosts Purdue in its Big Ten opener at noon, followed by the men's game as the nightcap of the doubleheader. The two programs will welcome back all 2012 Spartan Soccer Camp participants as a part of their Camper Appreciation Day. All campers who wear their camp-issue Tshirt will be admitted with one parent free of charge to either game of Sunday's doubleheader.