Oct. 16, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Recording the seventh shutout of the season, the Michigan State men's soccer team blanked Oakland 3-0 on Wednesday evening at DeMartin Stadium. With the win, the Spartans are now 8-1-2, while the Grizzlies are 5-3-5 on the season.
"We obviously came out with the right mindset," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I can't think of a faster goal scored in just 13 seconds; that was great and it just set the tone. I think when you can score a few goals and not give any up, you're going to be in good shape. We didn't get the result we wanted on Sunday, so I think there was some motivation to come out and right the ship. For us to jump out on them with two goals the way we did, I just thought we kept a really good mindset and kept playing. In the second half, we just did a good job of finishing the game off. It was definitely a group effort."
Not even 15 seconds into the game, Ryan Thelen and Tim Kreutz played in a ball that Jay Chapman sent into the net off a strike from the left to put the Spartans on the board. It was Chapman's second goal of the season, sixth of his career.
The Spartans turned in a few more shots before Sean Conerty passed the ball to Fatai Alashe who fought for it before Tim Kreutz tapped it in the net in the 34th minute to give MSU a 2-0 lead. Kreutz, who recorded one goal in each of his previous seasons, recorded the fifth goal of this season, his seventh career-goal.
Oakland earned its first shot of the game sent over the cross bar before Alashe struck another ball just wide of the net. Zach Bennett picked up a big save off a dangerous free kick from the Grizzlies. Earning a few corner kicks, Oakland took additional shots, but sent them wide of the goal. Both teams traded possession throughout the final 10 minutes of the first half forcing Bennett to tack on two major saves for the Spartans.
Kicking off the second half with a bang, Kreutz went one-on-one with the Oakland keeper and got past him to send in a goal from 15 yards out. His second goal of the game came off an assist from Adam Montague and Chapman to put the Spartans up 3-0 in the 47th minute.
The Grizzles were required to turn in a defensive save after Conerty sent a ball on target that was cleared out by an Oakland defender. Andrew Herr returned the favor as he blocked for the Spartans.
A crowd built up in the box after Brent McIntosh sent over a cross to Kyle Rutz who attempted to put it in the net twice with help from Kreutz, but the Spartans could not get the ball in the net. Rutz got another shot on goal that was saved before Jerome Cristobal sent in a shot that hit the cross bar with under 10 minutes left in the game.
In goal, Zach Bennett earned his seventh shutout of the season, 10th of his career. Recording four saves in the game, he improved his GAA to 0.60 with a .881 Sv%.
Also on Wednesday, redshirt senior Kevin Cope was announced as one of ten finalists for the 2013 men's collegiate soccer Senior CLASS Award, presented by Premier Sports Management. He is first candidate from the MSU men's soccer program to be a top-10 finalist for the award established for the sport in 2007, as 2008 captain Doug DeMartin was in the top-30 his senior season. Fans can vote at www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/mens_soccer_2013/ now through Nov. 25.
The Spartans will continue their home-stretch as they host Big Ten leader Penn State on Sunday, Oct. 20. Also celebrating Alumni Day, Sunday will include a double-header as they women face off against Indiana at noon before the men's game at 2:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on Big Ten Digital Network; a paid subscription is necessary.