Nov. 12, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Michigan State men's soccer team defeated Northwestern, 1-0, Thursday (Nov. 12) morning to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The sixth-seeded Spartans got a goal from their lone senior, Tim Granaderos, in the 52nd minute to give MSU its 11th win of the year. No. 16 Northwestern, the third seed in the conference tournament, is now 10-4-4.
"It was a great team effort today and a very important win," said MSU head coach Damon Rensing.
MSU is now 11-6-2 on the year and Thursday's win put the Spartans in an excellent position to earn their third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.
"I think we erased the doubts about getting into the NCAA Tournament today," said Rensing. "Now we have more to keep playing for tomorrow as well."
Jeff Ricondo led MSU in the first half with four shots, including two on goal. The Spartans outshot the Wildcats, 7-5, in the first half.
Less than seven minutes into the second half, Spartan defender Stephen Lucianek was able to get upfield and get around the Wildcat defense and sent the ball into Granaderos, who beat NU keeper Misha Rosenthal with a hard shot to the lower left corner.
"That was great for Tim," said Rensing. "This program is based on leadership and guys making big plays. Tim showed why he is a senior today."
Spartan goalkeeper Avery Steinlage, who missed the last two games, returned to the lineup for the Green and White and made three saves, including two in the second half, to preserve the win for MSU.
Michigan State, the defending conference tournament champions, will meet either Penn State or Michigan at 4:30 p.m. on Friday for the right to play for the Big Ten Tournament championship. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. MSU fell to Penn State, 1-0, and defeated Michigan, 2-1, earlier this season. Both games were played at DeMartin Stadium.
Notes: Thursday's win over Northwestern improved the Spartans' record to 5-0 all time against the Wildcats in the Big Ten Tournament and marked the second consecutive season they knocked them from the tourney ... the Spartans are 2-2-1 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming on the road by one goal.