It was a tale of two halves for the MSU men’s soccer team Wednesday.
The Spartans played the first half without a sense of urgency, but came out of the gates flying in the second half, scoring both goals within the first six minutes en route to a 2-1 victory over Bowling Green at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.
“We were a little slow going forward early in the game,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. “But to our guy’s credit, we came flying in the second half and got a couple of goals and did pretty well.”
In the first half, junior forward Jeff Ricondo took two deep shots from 25 yards out, both of which gave Bowling Green goalkeeper Dylan Schoettley fits.
“Everyone needs to start shooting,” Ricondo said. “We don’t have to be inside the 18 to get a shot. If you get a good look at it, just pull the trigger.”
Despite recording eight shots in the first half, Rensing wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance.
“At halftime, we just got after them a little bit and tried to draw some emotion out of them,” he said. “We let them know that it does no good for us coaches to be mad. It’s their team and they have to decide how they want to play.”
And Rensing’s halftime pep talk paid off. Three minutes into the half, senior defender Tim Granaderos ripped a shot from 35 yards out that forced a fantastic diving save from Schoettley.
In the 49th minute, the Spartans got on the scoreboard when sophomore forward Cyrus Saydee dribbled the ball into the 18-yard box and overpowered his defender before firing a shot into the lower left corner.
More than two minutes later, the ball found the left-side netting again for the Spartans. This time it was Ricondo with a half-volley into the left corner of the goal.
Within the next five minutes, the Spartans had a handful of opportunities and found the framework twice — the first coming off the foot of junior midfielder Nosa Iyoha and the second off the head of sophomore defender Stephen Lucianek.
Bowling Green got on the board in the 68th minute when forward Ahmad Smith received a long through ball and fired a sharp angle shot that beat MSU junior goalkeeper Avery Steinlage to his left.
“No one closed on him,” Steinlage said of the Falcons’ goal. “He got loose and someone didn’t step to him. He just had a good shot at the far post and snuck it right inside the post.”
The Spartans (8-4-1 overall, 0-3-1 Big Ten) were able to hold onto their one goal lead without giving up any more quality chances for the rest of the game.
MSU will play Michigan 2:30 p.m. Sunday at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.
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