Nov. 9, 2011
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Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer season came to an end on Wednesday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, as the Spartans fell to No. 9 Indiana, 2-1. MSU spotted the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead in the first 47 minutes, and a late flurry of good chances did not get the Spartans an equalizer.
"I thought that today, we executed our game plan pretty well in the first half. Their goal was a professional finish from a great player," said head coach Damon Rensing. "Their goal early in the second half deflated us a little bit, but I thought we regrouped pretty well.
"We had our chances - Rubin [Bega] has that shot off the crossbar before they even scored, Brent Rosendall has a great look late in the game. It didn't happen for us, but Im very happy and proud of our team for the way that they performed today."
Michigan State had a golden chance to get on the board in the 28th minute. Bega's shot from just inside the box rang off the crossbar, and Garret Back tried to redirect the loose ball into the back of the net, but watched his shot go just wide.
The Hoosiers got on the board first in the 38th minute. Nikita Kotlove had the goal for IU, putting a ball into the back of the net from about 22 yards out. It was the only shot on goal for the Hoosiers in the half.
The Hoosiers got on the board nearly right after the start of the second half. On a long throw-in from the far sideline, Eriq Zavaleta got hid head on the throw from Jamie Vollmer, and Alec Purdie was able to put his volley into the left side of the net.
Indiana carried the better of play after opening the half with that marker, and Clark prevented further damage with a great save on a point-blank shot by Vollmer in the 65th minute.
That stop by Clark bolstered the Spartans, who began to carry the better of play over the balance of the game. MSU was able to break through in the 81st minute to pull within a goal. Cyrus Saydee took the second of back-to-back corner kicks for the Spartans, and got the ball into the far side of the box. Adam Montague headed Saydee's ball over the line for his fifth goal of the season.
MSU continued to push, and had its best chance to tie the game when Brent Rosendall got the ball on his feet two yards from the left post, but his attempt went just wide of the net.
Indiana keeper Luis Soffner finished with three stops, while Clark made one save. Indiana had an edge in overall shots (15-11), but MSU had the edge in shots on net (4-3) and corner kicks (5-4). Indiana had twice as many fouls (14-7).
The Spartans completed the season with a 7-8-4 overall mark, and went 2-2-2 in the Big Ten Conference regular season. Riddled with early-season injuries that put two All-Big Ten performers on the shelf for the entire season, MSU struggled through a 1-5-2 start to put together a 5-1-2 run after Oct. 5, which included an upset of No. 6 Akron on the road.
"I am so incredibly proud of the way our team conducted themselves throughout the season. In particular, our seniors really did a nice job of keeping everyone together . Some teams could have had the start we did and gone 3-13. It's a tribute to the fight and pride that our players have in our program the way they kept at it. While the overall record maybe isn't what we would have liked to have this season, the standard that the seniors set will resonate for years to come."