Oct. 23, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In a battle that ended in the Spartans fifth overtime game of the season, No. 17 Michigan State men's soccer fought the No. 18 Akron Zips to a 0-0 deadlock on Wednesday night at Cub Cadet Field. The Spartans are now 8-2-3 on the season after their first of a three-game road stretch, while the Zips own a 10-3-1 record. Earning a career-high 10 saves and his eighth shutout of the season, goalkeeper Zach Bennett and the Spartan defense snapped the Zips' three-game winning streak, serving them their first tie of the season.
"Akron is a very good team and they are even better at home," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I thought we showed a lot of good character tonight. We did some very good things and certainly created some chances. Certainly, they created quite a bit of chances. I think any time you go into that tough an environment and play, not give up any goals, create some chances and can potentially win the game, I think you did alright. The work rate of the whole team was special tonight. They dug in and defended, they ran forward on the break when we had chances to get forward, we pushed numbers forward. The guys put a great effort in tonight. We went in there with the attitude to win the game. We unfortunately didn't get the goal, but a tie on the road against a very good Akron team isn't the worst thing."
Both teams were able to get early shots on goal, but strong defensive pressure on either side of the field left any offensive attacks out of the net. Though Akron maintained an early possession, MSU came fighting with Ryan Keener and Adam Montague heading in shots just wide of a Spartan goal.
Fatai Alashe sent in a shot that was just deflected off the Akron keeper before Tim Kreutz's shot an attempt to give MSU opportunity to get on the board but was kept out.
Zach Bennett continued his stronghold of the net earning a career-high 10 saves in the game and his eighth shut out of the season. He and the Spartan defense kept 23 shots by the Zips off the board throughout the game.
"I'm really proud of Zach Bennett," said Rensing. "I think for me, I knew he would bounce back, but maybe there was a play at the end of the game against Penn State that he would like to have back. The next game, he's got to go into a hostile crowd with fans right behind the goal and what does he do? He gets a shutout. You have to give him a lot of credit."
The Spartans will re-enter conference play as the team travels to Madison, Wis., to face the Badgers on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. ET.