Oct. 31, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State's men's soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 2 Akron on Tuesday, snapping a three-game winning streak. MSU falls to 8-8-1 overall, while the Zips improve to 14-1-2 on the season. It was the 11th straight win for Akron, a streak during which they have outscored their opponents 29-1.
The lone score of the contest came in the 48th minute, as the Zips converted on one of five corner-kick chances on the afternoon. Despite some good chances on both ends, MSU could not solve the impressive Zips defense, nor could the talented Akron side could not get another past the Spartans, who have allowed just five goals in seven games since Oct. 1. MSU's record in the month of October is 5-2 after starting the season 3-6-1.
"Defending a corner not the way you want to give up a goal to win," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I thought we responded pretty well in second half after the goal, and showed some urgency. Against a team like this, though, you can't wait to go down 1-0 and then turn it up - you have to be ready to go from the start. I give full credit to Akron - they are very good. "
While the Zips held a 14-7 edge in shot attempts, Akron helf just a 5-3 edge in shots on goal and a 5-2 lead in corner kicks. At halftime, Akron held an 8-2 advantage in shots, 3-0 in corner kicks, and 4-0 edge in shots on goal.
MSU's defensive efforts shored up in the second half, limiting the second-ranked side to just two corners and only one shot on net - however, it was the one shot which found its intended destination, coming off a corner play. Scott Caldwell took the corner, and Robbie Derschang headed it past Zach Bennett. It was his first marker of the season.
The Spartans had their better chances in the second half, where they generated all three of their shots on net and a few close calls which went wide or ended up as missed connections inside the box. Minutes after the Akron score, Adam Montague placed his crossing pass inside the box at the top of the penalty area, but Fatai Alashe just over-ran the pass and the Zips defender was able to clear. Ryan Keener had a chance in the 65th minute, when he had a nice side-volley which keeper David Meves was able to smother.
Perhaps MSU's most dangerous chances came with just three minutes remaining in regulation, when a corner kick came from the right side; Kevin Cope was able to get a head on it, and it was deflected off the crossbar by Meves. Keener was there for the follow-up with his header from the left post, but Meves corralled it at the left post to end the Spartan threat.
Bennett continued his strong play for the Spartans , tying his season best with four saves for the third time this season. He has allowed more than one goal in a game just once since earning the starting job at the start of the month against Ohio State.
The Spartans have just one game remaining in their regular-season schedule, a Saturday evening tilt at archrival Michigan for the Big Bear Trophy. Gametime on Saturday is 7 p.m.