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Men's soccer stuns Georgetown, advances to Elite Eight

December 1, 2013

Kevin Cope doesn’t want his senior year to end.

The senior center back put his already-battered body on the line many times to help the No. 11-seed MSU men’s soccer team upset the No. 6-seed Georgetown Hoyas 1-0 Sunday afternoon in Washington.

With five minutes left in the game and one of the most prolific scorers with a wide open net, Cope played the part of goalkeeper and blocked the shot with his body, despite his broken ribs and other knocks he’s picked up throughout the season.

“I keep telling everyone that I just don’t want this to be my last game with these guys,” Cope said. “I’ve just got to do what I can for the team.”

The win earned the Spartans a trip to the Elite Eight for the first time in 45 years.

Georgetown owned the first ten minutes of the game by getting off three shots and not allowing MSU anywhere near the goal.

The teams tousled back and forth until junior forward Adam Montague broke the deadlock in the 28th minute.

After getting the ball from sophomore midfielder Jay Chapman 18 yards out, Montague let loose a left-footed strike from the middle of the box that swerved past Hoya keeper Tomas Gomez.

“It’s just good for my confidence,” Montague said. “It’s been hard being on the sideline and not being able to help the team out, but being a cheerleader. It was nice to be able to come back today and be able to contribute on the field.”

The Spartans were determined to keep the clean sheet in the second half, and routinely had eight or more players on the defensive side of the ball.

Brandon Allen and Steve Neumann, who both have double-digit goals on the season for Georgetown, were in the middle of a few scrambles in the box.

The MSU defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Zach Bennett and Cope, was as strong as they’ve been all season.

Bennett finished the game with seven saves and his 13th shutout of the season, tying the school record.

MSU now has beaten the defending 2012 NCAA champions — Indiana — and the 2012 NCAA runners-up in Georgetown.

MSU will face off against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. in the Elite Eight. Notre Dame defeated the Spartans 2-0 in the second-to-last game of the regular season, and knocked them out of the tournament a year ago.

Head coach Damon Rensing said the ability for this team to come through the adversity is the formula to make a deep run in the postseason.

“We had to go on the road to a very good Georgetown team and get a result,” Rensing said. “It was a great team effort and this team did what they had to do to win and advance in the NCAA Tournament.”

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