Oct. 20, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – In the fourth double overtime game of the season, the No. 14 Michigan State men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought battle to No. 17 Penn State, 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans are now 8-2-2 on the season, including 1-1-1 in the conference. Penn State improved to 9-3-1 and 4-0-0 in the Big Ten.
“I was just really proud of the team,” said head coach Damon Rensing. “Soccer can be a cruel game. I think we created some very, very good chances. I think we had the majority of the possession. You have to credit Penn State, they took advantage of two chances. If you look at the run of play, I was very proud of our guys. We have to continue to be better on some things, but if we continue to play like this, we’ll be fine. I was proud of the effort.”
The Nittany Lions forced Zach Bennett to come up with an early save in goal. Jay Chapman responded for the Spartans, sending in a target that bounced off the right post. MSU cleared out a dangerous corner kick from Penn State as Ryan Keener headed the ball out of the box.
A foul by Penn State set up a free kick for the Spartans. Ryan Thelen found Tim Kreutz who headed in a goal just inside the right post to give Michigan State a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. It marked the seventh goal of the season for Kreutz, the ninth of his career.
MSU didn’t let up as Adam Montague sent over a through ball to Brent McIntosh who had an one-on-one target on goal, but the Penn State goal keeper made a huge save. The Spartans created another attack as Montague drove down the middle off transition play and passed it to Kreutz who got a shot on goal that was again saved by the Nittany Lion keeper. Penn State continued putting numbers forward, requiring MSU’s backline to make some plays on defense. Bennett came up with another big grab off a corner kick from Penn State. Under 10 minutes left in the first half, a dangerous shot from the Nittany Lions was saved off the hands of Bennett to keep the Spartan lead at the end of the first half.
The Spartans led the Nittany Lions at the half with 10 shots to six, but Penn State took five corner kicks in the first half, while MSU had none.
Penn State earned the equalizer in the 50th minute of the game as Drew Klingenberg sent in a goal just past Bennett’s hands in the far left post from 25 yards out. It was assisted by Owen Griffith.
The Nittany Lions tried to take the lead not long after with back-to-back shots, the first blocked by Ryan Kenner and second sent just over the cross bar. The Spartans fought for possession before Sean Conerty attempted to take back the lead with a shot blocked by Penn State.
The Spartan defense continued to keep Penn State at bay, clearing out opportunities for the Nittany Lions to take the lead. Showing some great inter-play near the final third, Dewey Lewis passed over an opportunity to Kreutz that was saved by the Penn State keeper. After a corner kick from Conerty was cleared out, Lewis kept up the pressure and sent it back in for Alashe whose header was just wide of the goal. Montague also attempted to send a header in the net with under five minutes late, but it was grabbed by the Penn State keeper. The Spartans kept pressing, but could not send in a goal before the end of regulation.
Both Montague and Kreutz tried to get the golden goal early into the first period of overtime, but the Nittany Lions defense kept them at bay.
With under a minute into the second overtime period, Mike Robinson sent in a long feed to the top of the six-yard box, where Jordan Tyler sent in the game-winner.
“Their keeper is 6’6”,” said Rensing. “He made a couple of really good saves. I think maybe we have to relax a little bit more. I thought the guys really put an effort in. If we’re not creating chances, then I have a problem. We’re creating chances and more times than not, that will come. We’ve got a tough road stretch against three very good teams starting with Akron on Wednesday. I just told the team, if we continue to play the way we’re playing, we’ll be fine. We just have to stick together. A lot of teams would like to be where we are at. We’re 8-2-2. As long as we stick together and keep doing what we’ve been doing to get us here, I think we’ll be fine.”
Michigan State also celebrated Alumni Day on Sunday as six decades worth of Spartan alums were recognized during halftime of the game.
The Spartans head back out for a three-game road stretch as they travel to Akron on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.