Saturday, October 31, 2020

Akron gives Michigan State men's soccer second straight home loss

October 10, 2018

No. 8 Michigan State men’s soccer (9-2-2, 3-1 in Big Ten) returned to action Tuesday night fresh off a 2-0 win at Maryland, but the Spartans would not be as fortunate on their home turf, as they suffered a 2-1 loss to Akron (5-4-2). 

“Akron’s a good opponent,” coach Damon Rensing said after the game. “Again, I thought we really played well in a lot of spells and controlled majority of the game, and sometimes the ball doesn’t go into the net the way you wanted it to.” 

The last time the two squads faced off Akron walked away with a 4-1 victory on its field, and the Spartans’ struggles against the Zips would continue this time around. 

Though the two teams were facing surprisingly warm game conditions for an October matchup, as temperatures reached 80 degrees, the Spartan offense remained relatively chilled in the first period, as they were unable to convert on four shots, extending MSU's first half struggles this season. 

Akron drew first blood, as midfielder Skye Harter booted in a penalty kick past goalkeeper Jimmy Hague and a wall of Spartan defenders. The goal gave the Zips a 1-0 lead just under nine minutes into the first period, and the score would remain that way heading into the half.

MSU was able to strike back just under nine minutes into the second half, as a shot off the foot of junior defender Michael Wetungu found the back of the net, and gave him his first career goal and evened the score at one a piece. Senior forward DeJuan Jones and junior midfielder Giuseppe Barone picked up assists on the play. 

Akron was able to pull away later in the half, however. With just over eight minutes left in regulation, a shot by forward David Egbo got past Hague to put the Zips up by a goal. 

MSU was unable to strike back in the final minutes of the game and would go on to lose 2-1. For the Spartans, it is their second loss in three games and second consecutive home loss.

“I just told the guys, this is a non-conference game, all we care about is our last four games in the Big Ten,” Rensing said. “One of our goals is to try and win a Big Ten championship, and that starts at Ohio State.” 

The Spartans' matchup with the Buckeyes (1-9-2, 0-3-1 in Big Ten) at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is set for 5 p.m. Friday in Columbus. 

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