The Michigan State Spartans (2-6-3) drew even with the reigning College Cup champions the No. 25 Maryland Terrapins (6-3-2) at DeMartin Stadium Friday night.
During the first half, the Spartans were able to get on the scoreboard. Heavy rains made for great struggle from both sides, turning the turf slick. Redshirt junior defender Patrick Nielsen appeared in the starting lineup for his third game back after injury.
“I’m really proud of the guys. They battled, they stuck to the game plan," head coach Damon Rensing said after the game.
"We were disappointed to lose the lead, but we did hold strong defensively," Rensing said, "Great first half goal. We really had the game where we wanted it. We knew Maryland’s a good team. They’re the defending national champs. They’re going to come with some stuff, but I thought early on we had a couple good counters and really had a chance to go up to 2-0. They certainly put some pressure on us with some corner kicks. For the most part, we managed."
Thirteen minutes in, redshirt senior forward Cody Sweatte fired a shot on goal to no avail. Fast forward 5 minutes, and the Spartans got another early chance with a shot off the foot of sophomore midfielder Michael Miller that sailed just high of the net.
At 21 minutes remaining, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Hunter Morse made a diving save to block an incoming ball from the Terrapins. The score remained at a tied 0-0 until one minute left, when freshman forward Gianni Ferri assisted senior midfielder Michael Pimlott for the first Spartan goal of the game.
The final score for the first half stood at Spartans: 1-Terrapins: 0.
With the rain still in full force, the second half of the game was underway.
Within the first minute, a yellow card was thrown on Pimlott. And within the first 10 minutes, Morse made two saves against Maryland to protect the Spartan’s lead.
At 20-minutes left, sophomore forward Farai Mutatu gained control of the ball, seeing an open opportunity to score, but the shot bounced off of the face of Maryland’s Johannes Bergmann.
There were 13 minutes remaining when Maryland’s Justin Gielen scored the first goal of the night for his team, assisted by Bergmann and tying the score at 1-1. There were only two minutes left on the clock when Maryland’s freshman midfielder Malcolm Johnston attempted and missed the shot for a second Maryland goal.
The tie would hold as the second half ended 1-1.
But there was no sudden-death overtime this game. Due to severe weather conditions, after 90 minutes, the game was called and resulted in a draw.
Though Michigan State didn’t manage the victory, they kept things steady in the Big Ten leaderboard with the defending national champions.
“We’re going to rest up. We’re going to dry up and get warm. We’re going to watch video," Rensing said. "It’s another final four team. Their record doesn’t quite indicate that, but we’re going to get on the bus and go to Akron and do whatever we can to get a result."
The Spartans take on Akron (1-8-1) next week on Tuesday, Oct. 15 after falling to them in their last meeting at the 2018 National Semifinals for the College Cup.
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