Men's soccer trumps Penn State, rises in Big Ten standings
The men’s soccer team hosted Big Ten rivals Penn State Sunday afternoon and were able to come away with a very crucial 2-1 victory.
The Spartans were able to match Penn State in both physicality and intensity. MSU was able to thread the needle and capitalize on offensive opportunities. The Spartans were barely outshot by the Nittany Lions 15-12, and Penn State also out-fouled MSU 10-7.
Goals for MSU came from senior midfielder Jason Stacy and freshman defender Connor Corrigan.
“It was a great win, not just a good win,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “It looked like we were the team that wanted to win the game, and we pushed, got some more territory, got some crosses and shots in and our guys stayed with it until the end.”
MSU’s first goal came early in the first half duringin the 47th minute, when Jason Stacy scored an unassisted goal after he stole the ball and shot it past Penn State goalkeeper Matt Bersano to take a 1-0 lead.
However, just moments later, a shot from senior midfield Drew Klingenberg was deflected off of Spartan keeper Zach Bennett and fellow Penn State midfielder Christian Kaschak fired it in to tie the game.
But the Spartans put the final nail in the coffin during the 87th minute when freshman forward Ryan Sierakowski passed a shot to Corrigan, who headed one into the net from six yards back.
“We had a lot of possession after a pretty chaotic spell when they scored their goal,” Corrigan said. “We were lucky to get into a rhythm and I just got into the box and tried to make something happen.”
With the soccer season winding down, every game is growing more and more important for the Spartans, who now improved to 7-4-2 overall (2-1-2 in the Big Ten). A win like this should be able to surge the offense for games to come.
“Offense was tremendous, they’re starting a little bit to get in their own little groove here,” Bennett said, “It was a great soccer game. It was a great college match, both teams played really well, but I think once we got the goal and they got one right back, I think we were the team pressing after that to get another one to get the win and we were fortunate enough to do that and get the W.”
Following Sunday’s game, the Spartans only have five games left in the regular season, with three of those against Big Ten teams (Northwestern, Michigan and Indiana). Sunday’s win against Penn State puts the Spartans fifth overall in the Big Ten standings.
The Spartans will be on the road this week, taking on Akron Wednesday evening and Northwestern Saturday afternoon, and will resume home play against Oakland University Oct. 28.