Oct. 17, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State got a shutout from freshman keeper Zach Bennett for the second time in three games, while senior Domenic Barone headed in the game's lone marker as the Spartans downed Summit League leader Oakland, 1-0, on Wednesday evening in Rochester, Mich.
It was the first home loss of the season for Oakland, as the Grizzlies are now 6-1 at home and 9-5-0 overall. MSU improves to 6-7-1 overall, and brings a 1-2-0 Big Ten record into its next Conference game, at home on Sunday against Wisconsin.
"I thought we had some individuals that maybe didn't play their best against Penn State, and it was nice to see us rebound and play well tonight. We talked about stepping up and playing together as a team and that's how we got the win," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I think that for us, getting that shutout was important. Oakland is a good team with some dangerous players with good offensive numbers. There's also something a little extra when playing an in-state rival. I thought we handled ourselves well, and earned a pretty important win."
The Spartans picked up their second victory in their last three outings and third in four games, posting 1-0 shutouts in midweek tilts over Detroit and now, Oakland. Bennett has played all four of those games for MSU, with the team's lone loss in this span a tough-luck 2-1 decision at Penn State last Sunday, in which PSU's game-winner was an own goal by the Spartan defense. Bennett owns a 0.75 GAA and .800 save percentage, with two shutouts and three victories in his four starts.
The game was a scoreless affair headed into the final 20 minutes of play. In the 72nd minute. Ryan Thelen took a long throw-in, and the ball bounced inside the penalty area before coming to Domenic Barone, who connected for a looping header into the far post.
The home team pressed for an equalizer in an effort to keep the team's unblemished record at home intact. However, Bennett was strong in his area, and helped MSU come away with the victory.
Each team had 13 shots, but MSU held a very slight edge in shots on goal (4-3), as well as corner kicks (4-3); MSU committed 14 fouls to the Grizzlies 15.
The Spartans will look to get back into the Big Ten race, as they return home for a Sunday contest against Wisconsin. Sunday's game will air live on the Big Ten Network.