MSU Holds No. 3 Creighton to 2-2 Draw
Sept. 24, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – In their first overtime match of the season, Michigan State battled No. 3 Creighton on Tuesday night at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb., to a 2-2 deadlock in double overtime. With the tie, the Spartans are now 4-1-1, while the Bluejays now own a 5-1-1 (1-0-0 BIG EAST) record.
“Morrison Stadium has an awesome environment and a great college atmosphere," said head coach Damon Rensing. “Creighton is a great soccer team and I thought we went up head-to-head against them and played them straight up and could have won the game as easily as we could have probably lost the game. I think the tie is a fair result and that’s a great sign for our program. When you look at some of the teams we’ve played this year, whether its in exhibition or the regular season and certainly some neutral and on the road and a good Oregon State team at home, we’re right there with all of them. I think, just like Creighton, we can go back and now see what we can do to make sure we can win these types of games. We did some very good things to compete in this game, but I think we can play better and do a couple things so that the next time, we’re in an environment like this with a good team, we can win the game.”
Fatai Alashe put the Spartans on the board first when he put the ball in the net from six yards out after a long throw in from Ryan Thelen giving MSU a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute. It is the first goal scored this season by Alashe, the third of his career.
Less than eight minutes later, Creighton answered as Marvin Iskra shot in a goal from eight yards out for the equalizer.
Entering the half, the Bluejays outshot the Spartans 8-2. However, both of MSU’s shots were on goal as Adam Montague tried to add a goal in the 18th minute that was saved by the Creighton keeper. Meanwhile, only one of the Bluejays eight shots was on goal.
“I would say the first half, Creighton was the better team and certainly had a little more of the possession,” Rensing said. “I thought in the second half that we were very good and probably controlled some things and had our chances and our share of possession, too. So that’s what happens in those good games. You have to be able to defend while the other team has the ball and certainly you have to keep it and make them defend and both teams did a good job of that.”
With MSU’s third shot of the night, Tim Kreutz made it count. Assisted by Jay Chapman, he finished off of a long throw by Thelen by heading in a goal to put the Spartans up 2-1 in the 52nd minute. It is the third-straight game that Kreutz has scored a goal, the fifth of his career.
The Bluejays quickly responded, tying the score again at 2-2 in the 54th minute with a goal by Bruno Castro. Again, the Spartans found possession as Sean Conerty tried to put another header in the net, but the Creighton keeper made another save to keep the tie score. Conerty made a late corner kick for the Spartans before Alashe tried a last minute attempt to get the win, but the game was pushed into overtime.
Michigan State came into overtime firing as Thelen got an early corner kick followed by back-to-back shots by Montague. Bennett made another save before the end of the second overtime. It marks the first double overtime game for the Spartans since Sept. 30, 2012 against Northwestern and MSU’s first tie since a scoreless draw with Valparaiso on Aug. 24, 2012.
“I thought our players had a great mentality, great character and great perseverance," said Rensing. "What I mean by that is that we came out from the start to try to win the game. We got up a goal and twice gave up leads. Certain teams on the road, when the think they are up 1-0 at Creighton and they give up a goal to tie, they go up 2-1 and give up another one, they can fold. I thought we showed great character by giving up those leads and then continuing to persevere to try to get the win and unfortunately we couldn’t do it.”
In goal, Zach Bennett recorded four saves on the day. He now owns a 0.64 GAA and .840 Sv%.
Michigan State will return home this Saturday, Sept. 28 to face Northern Illinois. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium.
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