Nov. 12, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer team (11-6-1) defeated defending national champion and No. 4 Indiana (14-4-1) Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. Indiana native Ryan McMahen (Jr., Munster, Ind.) scored both of State's goals to knock off the top-seeded Hoosiers. This marks the first time Michigan State has beaten Indiana since 1965.
"I'm so proud of our players," said 28th-year head coach Joe Baum. "They played their hearts out today against a great Indiana team. We've been close before, but came out on the short side. Today, we were able to reverse that. Last year, we tied Indiana at their place and they went on to win the national championship. Going into today's game, we felt that if we played our A-game we could win."
"We won today's game with our defense. We converted on a couple of chances, but we did it mostly with defense. Jason Tillman (So./Brighton) was phenomenal in goal and our backs did a great job. Indiana kept attacking, but we were able to hold them off."
McMahen opened the scoring in the 17th minute after blasting a free kick to the left side from 22 yards out, beating Hoosier goalkeeper Jay Nolly for a 1-0 MSU lead.
Indiana was able to come back in the 32nd minute on a goal by Pat Yates to tie the game at 1-1 going into halftime. Mike Ambersley recorded an assist on the goal.
The Spartans retook the lead for good in the 70th minute when senior forward Jordan Gruber (Beverly Hills) sent a cross from 18 yards out to a wide open McMahen, who buried a shot to the left upper corner for the game-winning goal.
"They just gave me the free kick and I hit it in. It was a great feeling and a great pickup for the team," said McMahen. "I don't think I've ever had a feeling like this in my life. It's too short to celebrate now. We have to win a Big Ten championship here come Sunday. It wasn't just me out there. I was a lucky guy to be on that end of the ball. Everybody played hard. We finally got a victory over Indiana. We finally got the win we've been working for."
The Spartans advance to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor. This will mark the third appearance by the Spartans in the title game. MSU lost to Indiana in its two previous appearances (1996 - 4-0; 2001 - 2-0). The game will be at 2 p.m. at the University of Michigan Soccer Field against third-seeded Northwestern.
"If we had to play tomorrow, we would be in trouble. Fortunately, tomorrow is a day off," said Baum. "We'll enjoy this tonight, but once we go to practice tomorrow, we'll put this game behind us. We've got a big task ahead of us."