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MSU men's soccer falls to Michigan in 2nd game of the season

February 24, 2021

The tension was high as the Spartans faced their in-state rivals in only the second game of the season. 

MSU walked into Brighton optimistic against the Wolverines after falling short to Rutgers in their season opener last Friday. The Wolverines were 1-0 as they took the win against Northwestern in their season opener. 

In a 1-0 Michigan victory, MSU was never able to answer the Wolverines' only score of the game.

"We are obviously disappointed in the result," Head Coach Damon Rensing said in post-game interviews. "I think for the first 45 minutes we played really well. We did some good stuff; we got good stuff out of (Michael) Miller, and Farai (Mutatu) was really dangerous, and again did some very good things. I was disappointed in how we gave up the goal. We can't get beat from behind there and defend the way we did."

In the first half, the Spartans and Wolverines played back and forth until Michigan’s Kevin Buca scored a goal on a strike off an assist from Marc Ybarra in the 33rd minute of the first half.

The Wolverines led, and the Spartans weren’t able to bring the momentum into the second half.

"The second half, it can help the team who’s got the lead because there’s a lot of fouls and stoppages," Rensing said. "And so there just wasn't a lot of rhythm to the second half, and I think we needed a little bit more rhythm."

During the second half, the MSU offense was on the move as junior Luke Morrell kicked the first shot at Michigan as well as junior Jack Beck, who shot toward the Michigan goalkeeper. 

Despite having replica stats with seven shots from each team and two saves from each goalkeeper, the Wolverines were able to pull out the win on the Spartans. 

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“I thought we panicked on the ball," Rensing said. "We had to move and execute. You know, this is an emotional game for both teams."

MSU will now prepare to go into a game against Penn State this weekend. 

“But I think we’re just going to focus on a lot of attacking half stuff," Rensing said. "When teams are in we’ve got to do a lot better job of breaking teams down when they’re organized."

MSU will face off against Penn State on the road at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27.

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