Men's Soccer Rallies; Falls to Duke in NCAA Second Round
Nov. 22, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 14th-seeded Michigan State men's soccer team got a late goal from Rubin Bega, but was unable to get the tying goal in the closing minutes as it fell to Duke, 2-1, in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Sunday (Nov. 22) at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans, who earned an NCAA berth for the third consecutive season, finished the year at 11-8-2 overall.
"The guys were fantastic in the second half, I'm so proud of this team," said MSU Coach Damon Rensing. "They've been great all year and came out and gave a great effort after a couple of unfortunate goals in the first half."
Duke controlled the play for the majority of the first half, allowing MSU just one quality scoring opportunity that came from Tim Granaderos. Granaderos took the ball from the midfield stripe and raced down the right side, but his cross into the middle just missed Jeff Ricondo and sailed out of bounds.
After a corner kick in the 29th minute, the Blue Devils' Christian Ibeagha collected his own rebound off the post and put the ball in the net for the first goal of the game.
The Blue Devils' Andrew Wenger put the Spartans in a deeper hole just before the half when his shot from the left side inside the penalty area beat Avery Steinlage for a 2-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
Duke's Ryan Finley nearly made it a 3-0 game less than four minutes into the second half when he got the ball in a one-on-one situation with Steinlage. Steinlage made the initial stop and then Finley's rebound attempt was cleared at the line by a sliding Colin Givens to keep the score 2-0.
Givens' save seemed to breathe life into the Spartans, who responded with their two best scoring chances of the game just minutes later. Cyrus Saydee fed Rubin Bega inside the penalty area from 15 yards out, but his shot was stopped by Duke keeper James Belshaw. Granaderos followed less than a minute later with a header from 10 yards out that Belshaw also got his hands on.
The Spartans finally broke through in the 77th minute and cut the deficit to 2-1 off a free kick by Bega. Ricondo set up the play when his shot from the top of the penalty area was blocked by a handball. On the free kick, Bega bent the ball around the Duke wall, just inside the left post for his 10th goal of the season.
MSU maintained pressure on the Blue Devils in the final 10 minutes of play, but was unable to get the equalizer.
"We're extremely proud of everyone in that locker room," said Spartan defender Colin Givens. "We showed our persistence in the second half and how much we try to overcome adversity."
After being outshot, 7-0, in the first half, MSU put up 10 shots in the second half. Steinlage finished with two saves while Belshaw had three stops.
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