The No. 19-ranked men’s soccer team (11-4-4 overall, 4-2-2 Big Ten) kicked off the Big Ten Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Penn State on Sunday afternoon.
This was the second time this season the Spartans have played against Penn State. The last time they met, MSU won 2-0 on two first-half goals on Oct. 18.
The first half was a mostly defensive battle, in which neither team could manage to get themselves on the board. MSU took five shots in the half and one corner kick compared to five shots and one corner kick by the Nittany Lions.
The total shots and corner kicks for both teams were even at the half but Penn State had the better opportunities, forcing MSU junior goalkeeper Zach Bennett to make two saves while Penn State senior goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton played through the first 45 minutes without making a save.
After neither team could manage to score in the first half, the Spartans got things going in the second half, scoring a goal less than 10 minutes in. MSU took the 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal by senior forward and midfielder Tim Kreutz at the 53:13 mark of the game.
This victory was much different compared to the Oct. 18 matchup between Penn State and MSU. Last time around the Spartans were powered by two first-half goals, this time it took Kreutz’ second-half goal, his fourth goal of the season, to secure the win for MSU.
Despite being outshot by Penn State 12-8 , the Spartans were able to hang on to the lead, ultimately winning the game with a shutout.
After giving up at least one goal in the team’s last five games, the shutout was the first for Bennett and the Spartans since coincidently the Oct. 18 matchup with Penn State.
With Big Ten regular season champion Maryland also emerging victorious on Sunday , the Spartans are set to take on the No. 17-ranked Maryland Terrapins on Friday in what will be the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament .
The Spartans will attempt to win on the road in Maryland for the second time this season. MSU defeated Maryland 1-0 when the two teams met during the regular season on Sept. 19. MSU’s lone goal in the game came from junior midfielder Jason Stacy.