The MSU men’s soccer team got the 2013 regular season underway in dominating fashion with a 4-0 win against Western Michigan on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium.
“It was a great start for us,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “We played a pretty tough preseason, and we put together a full 90-minute match today. Our ball movement was good and our forwards were finishing things off. It was a culmination of two weeks of training and execution.”
Junior forward Adam Montague scored the first goal of the season for the Spartans (1-0-0 overall) when a cross from sophomore midfielder Jay Chapman was deflected by the keeper and knocked in by Montague in the sixth minute.
Senior defender Kevin Cope netted the second goal of his Spartan career in the 42nd minute after a free kick was headed in front of the goal by junior defender Ryan Keener and poked into the left side of the net by Cope.
Cope said the squad worked on hitting free kicks to the back post, and this was a prime example.
“It was a little lucky, but I’ll take it,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to start my senior season off on that high note. Keener did a good job playing it back across and I was just in the scrum looking for anything, and I got the knockdown. I’m glad I could finish it.”
The Spartans rotated 15 players on the field throughout the game, including redshirt freshman Jerome Cristobal and freshman Dewey Lewis, who finished his DeMartin Stadium debut with a goal and an assist.
After starting the game, Lewis took advantage of a poor back-pass by a WMU defender and beat a diving Bronco keeper with a strike to the right side from just outside the box.
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The former Michigan Mr. Soccer said scoring his first goal in a Spartan uniform was a good way set the tempo for this season.
“It’s feels good to get that first goal out of the way,” Lewis said. “They were playing some sketchy balls across the back line all day, so I just anticipated it and took a touch. The goalie just gave up the front post a little bit so I took advantage.”
Sophomore midfielder Sean Conerty’s 68th minute tally finished off the scoring for MSU. The substitute took a pass from junior forward Tim Kreutz and touched it past a diving keeper.
MSU outshot Western 16-5, and sophomore goalkeeper Zach Bennett picked up his first shutout of the season and 10th of his young career.
The Spartans next take on Oregon State at 5 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium, and Rensing was quick to shift his focus to the matchup with the Beavers.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in these guys,” he said. “It’s a good group, it’s a good win, but we’ll just turn our attention to Oregon State on Friday.”
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