Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Spartans overcome challenge to upset Penn State

October 23, 2000

The MSU men’s soccer team upset No. 15 Penn State 2-0 Sunday, playing short a player in final 20 minutes of the game because of a red card.

After receiving a yellow card early in the second half, senior midfielder Pat Mahoney was handed his second yellow card later in the second half, resulting in the red card.

MSU assistant coach Damon Rensing said the team accepted the challenge in the final 20 minutes.

“It’s a great win,” he said. “The guys really hung together and dug down deep with a man down.”

Senior defender and co-captian John Benoist said it was hard playing a man down even though the team hung on for the win.

“It was really tough, they came out in the second (half) pretty strong,” Benoist said. “They came at us but we just stuck together defensively and fortunately held them off.”

The shutout gives senior goalkeeper and co-captain T.J. Lieckfelt his third-and-a-half shutout of the season. Lieckfelt played a huge role in the Spartans’ defensive stand, turning away six of the 14 Penn State scoring attempts.

The victory puts MSU in at 8-5-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the conference, in front of Penn State at 10-4-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the conference.

Lieckfelt said he had a big hand from the defense while the team was playing down a man.

“The defense played phenomenal,” Lieckfelt said. “The whole team defense in the second half, they really got back (to protect our zone).”

MSU did not waste any time, attacking the Nittany Lions when freshman midfielder Jeffrey Krass scored his second goal of the season with 5:20 into the game to give MSU a 1-0 lead. The game remained scoreless until the 59th minute when Benoist sealed the game with a goal off a corner kick.

The win, MSU’s third straight, gives the Spartans a chance to snatch the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, Nov. 9 through Nov. 12 in Columbus, Ohio.

Rensing said this weekend’s win was huge because the Spartans put themselves in possession to get a high seed in the tournament.

“We control our own destiny (in the Big Ten),” Rensing said. “If we can knock off Wisconsin we’ll have sole possession of second place.”

The Spartans travel across the state to take on Western Michigan at 3 p.m. Wednesday.


Share and discuss “Spartans overcome challenge to upset Penn State” on social media.