Oct. 12, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The last time the Michigan State men's soccer team defeated perennial national power Indiana in a regular season match, the Spartan soccer program was in just its 10th year of existence. Sunday at DeMartin Stadium, the MSU men's soccer team defeated the Hoosiers, 2-0, for just the second time since 1965. Prior to Sunday, the last Spartan win against Indiana came in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament.
"It's just a great feeling," said MSU head coach Joe Baum. "Wednesday night we lost at Notre Dame, 3-0, and I'm sure a lot of people wrote us off today but this team never got down. We had good training sessions and we stayed positive.
The Hoosiers' Eric Alexander had the best chance of the game early on, when what initially looked like a harmless shot from 30 yards out found its way near the goal but bounced off the post. The ball then bounced out for another great shot by IU's John Mellencamp but Spartan goalkeeper Avery Steinlage made a diving stop. Indiana had another chance in the 42nd minute as Kevin Noschang got behind the Spartan defense and fired a shot that Steinlage just got a hand on and deflected wide of the goal.
Indiana controlled play to begin the second half and kept the pressure on MSU, but the Spartans' "bend but don't break" attitude paid off as Steinlage and the Spartan defense turned away everything the Hosiers sent toward the net.
Just as the second half wound down, and the scoring chances for each team waned, and the match looked as though it was headed for overtime, the Spartans struck. Sophomore Spencer Thompson came away with the ball just inside the penalty area and found senior Doug DeMartin, just to the right of the goal, who turned and fired the ball into the far corner of the net to give MSU the lead for good in the 84th minute.
MSU sealed the win just 41 seconds later as Thompson again set up Domenic Barone for his first-career goal to make the score 2-0. Barone knocked down the ball and beat IU goalkeeper Chay Cain with a quick shot to the far side of the net.
"It was a great team victory," Baum said. "I thought Avery was good, our defenders were outstanding, midfield play was wonderful and we finished well on a couple of great goals so I couldn't ask for anything more."
Steinlage finished the game with 11 stops, his second most this season, en route to his third-career shutout.
"Anytime you beat a team of that caliber, it's a great feeling," Steinlage said. "Today, we showed up a played our hearts out."
The Spartans are 6-5 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play. The loss drops IU to 6-4-2 and 1-2 in the conference.
MSU will return to action on Wednesday (Oct. 15) when it hosts No. 7 UIC at 3 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium.