Nov. 13, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer team defeated Ohio State, 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Earning their 10th shutout of the season, the Spartans advance to the semifinal to be played on Friday at 2:30 p.m. against Northwestern.
"I thought we played very well," said head coach Damon Rensing. "I thought we controlled the game from the start and certainly created a few chances and were unfortunate to not be up by a goal at halftime. But our guys kept pushing and pushing and were rewarded by a very good goal from Brent McIntosh. He had a great strike and what a way to score his first goal at Michigan State. I thought to Ohio State's credit, they responded directly after the goal and put us under some pressure. We gave up a penalty kick. Them missing the penalty kick certainly changed the game a little bit. I thought we got a hold of it again and then Sean Conerty scored the goal of the year. It was an unbelievable strike. It was a fantastic shot and put us up 2-0. I thought the guys did a good job of finishing the game off."
Michigan State maintained possession early in the first half with Tim Kreutz earning an early shot sent wide of the net. Kyle Rutz battled at the top of the box to take advantage of his own opportunity that was also wide of the goal. Ryan Thelen drove down the field and sent a cross over to Kreutz who had space, but his shot was picked off by the Buckeye keeper. Ohio State had its first dangerous opportunity off of a free kick, but Zach Bennett stepped up to make a big save for the Spartans.
After back-to-back chances for the Buckeyes were grabbed by Bennett, the Spartans earned their own dangerous opportunity off a corner kick that was blocked and caught in the Ohio State keeper's hands. Kreutz easily broke away from the Buckeye defenders, but could not get the shot on frame and sent it high over the cross bar. The Spartans outshot the Buckeyes 10-5 in the first half, but just missed putting the ball in the net.
Michigan State kicked off the second half with Rutz earning a strike that was deflected off the keeper's hands and sent straight to Brent McIntosh who kicked it just over the net. With an opportunity from a free kick, Thelen put the ball right into the hands of the Ohio State goalie. Kreutz earned MSU its first corner kick of the half that bounced around the box before Jay Chapman headed the ball up and down the back of the net.
After another great ball was bounced around in the box by the Spartans, Ohio State was unable to clear out a dangerous ball crossed in by Chapman before Brent McIntosh took it around the defender and into the net in the 56th minute. It is the first career goal for the senior Spartan.
Not long after, some aggressive play led to an Ohio State penalty kick that bounced off the right post to keep the equalizer off the score board. The Buckeyes earned another free kick off a MSU foul, but Bennett punched it out of the box.
In the 68th minute, Ryan Keener sent a ball over to Sean Conerty who volleyed an aerial target inside the far post to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. It marks his third goal of the season and fourth of his career.
MSU continued to pressure Ohio State, but the Buckeye keeper kept any additional Spartan goals out of the net.
Bennett thwarted any attempt from the Buckeyes, earning five saves on the day. He improved his GAA to 0.73 with an .872 Sv%.
The Spartans will face seventh-seeded Northwestern in the semifinal on Friday, Nov. 15 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.