Sunday, December 4, 2022

MSU men’s soccer redeems itself with victory over Chicago State

September 13, 2022
<p>Redshirt Senior Will Perkins (22) makes a shot on goal during an MSU and Chicago State University men's soccer game at DeMartin field in Sept. 12, 2022. The Spartans defeated the Cougars 4-1.</p>

Redshirt Senior Will Perkins (22) makes a shot on goal during an MSU and Chicago State University men's soccer game at DeMartin field in Sept. 12, 2022. The Spartans defeated the Cougars 4-1.

Photo by Jack Patton | The State News

Over the weekend: Michigan State breaks losing skid at Bowling Green

Riding a three-game losing streak, the Spartans tied 1-1 at Bowling Green on Friday night, destroying a losing streak delivered by two top-15 teams and a 3-1 Western Michigan squad that also has wins against Wisconsin and Northwestern.

Freshman Midfielder Jack Guggemos put up his first goal of his MSU career.

Although the tie tops a loss, it wasn’t what the team was shooting for.

“We were a little disappointed to be up 1-0 and get a goal back so quickly but on the road in college soccer is difficult, especially against a team like Bowling Green that’s got some good, experienced players,” Head Coach Damon Rensing said. “We weren’t excited about it, but at the end of the day a tie on the road isn’t the worst result.”

Onto the Chicago State

MSU returned home Monday night improved from its back-to-back away games, but not quite where it needed to be.

There were back-to-back corner kicks to kickstart the game. It wasn’t until the fifth corner that it finally paid off when junior forward Greyson Mercer scored the first goal of the game, putting MSU ahead. Mercer was assisted by freshman forward Tyler Crawford. 

Following Mercer’s opening goal, the Spartans went full force offensively. It then started to get chippy, and senior forward Gianni Ferri was taken down near the 18-yard box. It resulted in a Chicago State yellow card and a direct kick with just 25 seconds left on the clock. Redshirt senior defenseman Will Perkins took the kick and Ferri put the rebound away on a header for the second goal of the night. 

“This is massive. Obviously winning is the most important, so to help contribute to it after not being on the team for a while, it means everything to me,” Ferri said.

The Spartans came back hot after halftime. Just ten minutes in, Guggemos scored MSU's third goal, and Ferri stepped back in with the assist. 

Not only was it Ferri’s second spotlight play of the night, but it was also Guggemos' second goal in as many games. 

When asked about Guggemos's self-confidence, “I think his confidence will continue to grow," Rensing said. "He’s really active and finds himself in good spots. For me to see Gianni, Mercer and Guggemos, three attacking players score goals which we’ve been a bit slow on to start the year, hopefully this will help us get into a good rhythm.”

Just when the Spartans thought they were in the clear, Chicago State forward Niall Reid-Stephen scored a goal for the Cougars, knocking away MSU’s chance at a clean sheet. 

Senior goalkeeper Owen Finnerty hit his head on the field as the ball hit the back of the net.

“Owen’s a competitive guy and all goalies want shutouts,” Rensing said. “He’s been searching for that first shutout this year but maybe we'll just wait and see if we can get one against Washington.”

With just eight minutes remaining in the half, Perkins put up the fourth and final goal of the game off a penalty kick. 

“It feels good," Perkins said. "Just scoring and seeing the boys happy and the 4-1 up on the scoreboard is really cool...We need the momentum to go up and play a good game against Washington.”

The team will wrap up its non-conference season at Washington on Friday, then away at Indiana the following Friday to kickstart Big Ten play. 

“We got a little bit back on track," Rensing said. "We’re gonna have an awesome environment out in Washington, they’re I think number two in the country. They’re a very good and well-coached team and this was a great game to get us back on the right foot before we head out there.”

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