The No. 23 MSU men’s soccer team struck early and never took its collective foot off the gas pedal Thursday evening in its 4-0 victory against Providence at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.
The Spartans (2-1), coming off a 4-0 loss to No. 20 Georgetown on Sunday, scored in the 15th minute on a cross after time was called to allow for an ambulance to cross the field from the softball field.
Senior midfielder and co-captain Spencer Thompson’s cross after the stoppage was headed in by junior midfielder Mark Barone.
Although the Spartans started off slowly, allowing the Friars (1-1-1) to attack to set up the counterattack, the game ended up flowing at a fairly rapid speed, head coach Damon Rensing said.
“We wanted them to come at us a little bit,” Rensing said. “We got them on the counter and found the spaces wide. But, usually in that type of game if they get a goal and it’s 2-1 and we got a game.”
MSU saw several chances slip through its hands in the first half, but capatilized again with 1:48 remaining on the clock with a goal by junior midfielder Brent Rosendall.
Immediately following the goal, Providence defender George Hodge was sent off the field and allowed the Spartans to speed up the pace against 10 opponents the whole second half, Thompson said.
“Once we got the first goal, and the red card helps, from there we kept pressing,” he said. “Their backs kept stepping up when (junior forward Rubin Bega) checking in and the space was there.
The team played the same way they played all weekend when it gave up 7 goals in two games, Thompson said.
“We didn’t change much, actually I don’t think we changed anything at all,” he said. “We made sure we stayed together the whole 90 minutes and buckled down as a team.”
Rensing was happy with the performance of his team’s defense.
“Anytime you do not give up a goal, you have to feel good about the performance from a defensive standpoint.”
The Spartans struck twice more in the second half with goals in the 66th and 67th minutes, by senior defender Jake Fullerton and Bega.
The win was the way the team had hoped for in the home opener at DeMartin, senior goalkeeper Avery Steinlage said.
“We always expect to protect our field here,” Steinlage said. “We pride ourselves in protecting DeMartin field and definitly was a good feeling after last weekend to come out here and put a zero on the board.”
Rensing said he wasn’t surprised the team came out with such a dominant performance after the disappointing loss to Georgetown.
“I knew these guys would come back,” he said. “WIth the character these guys have, it would have been tough to not bounce back.”
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