Nov. 24, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Summit League champion Oakland scored once in each half and Michigan State played 46 minutes a man down as the Grizzlies defeated the Spartan men's soccer team, 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship Saturday at a cold and snowy Old College Field. Oakland (12-6-3) advances to a second-round match-up at Notre Dame on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. MSU ends its season with an 11-6-4 record.
Michigan State seemed to have the better of the play early, peppering Oakland's goal with four shots in the opening minutes. Despite MSU having the early chances, it was Oakland that capitalized. A breakdown in the Spartan midfield led to Oakland's Michael Reyes getting a breakaway down the right sideline. Reyes sent a cross to Piotr Nowak at the top right corner of the box, and Nowak put a shot inside the far post at 38:25 to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead. It was Nowak's fifth goal of the season. Reyes made the assist just moments after coming off the bench.
"Their first goal was a nice goal," head coach Joe Baum said. "It was kind of shocking because they didn't really have any chances before that. And after that goal, they were starting to get the best of the play."
A key moment of the match followed just five minutes after Nowak's tally, in the 44th minute. MSU senior co-captain Rauwshan McKenzie was issued a red card on the tail end of a corner kick play, forcing the Spartans to play the rest of the match with 10 players.
Just 57 seconds into the second half, Logan Lyon fired a shot through traffic in the box that MSU goalkeeper Chris Austin appeared to handle. However, Oakland's Stefan St. Louis came flying in at the last second and pushed the ball into the net to give Oakland a 2-0 lead.
The second goal was key because one Oakland tally wouldn't have been enough. MSU junior forward Doug DeMartin kicked a ball backward over his head to senior Kenzo Webster, who was pulled down in the box by an Oakland defender to set up a Michigan State penalty kick. DeMartin did the honors, but was stopped by OU keeper Steve Clark. The PK rebound came right back to DeMartin, who buried the second shot to pull the Spartans within 2-1. It was DeMartin's Big Ten-leading 12th goal of the season.
"I thought our drive and perseverence was great," Baum said. "Playing with just 10 guys, our effort was fantastic. I'm proud of our team."
Play was even throughout as Michigan State scrambled to find the equalizer. MSU did come up with one excellent chance in the match's final minute. An Oakland defender knocked Webster down to set up a Spartan free kick just outside the box with 26 seconds remaining, but Webster's shot on the free kick sailed just over the crossbar.
The play between the two schools was as heated as the weather was cold. Four yellow cards in addition to the red card were issued, along with 29 fouls. Oakland was whistled for 19 fouls to MSU's 10. MSU outshot Oakland, 13-10, and had advantages in shots on goal (10-4) and corner kicks (7-4).