After a non-conference victory over Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, MSU defeated Rutgers Sunday afternoon 4-3 in its second to last home game of the 2022 season.
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes in when freshman forward Jonathan Stout kicked the ball to the lower left corner of the net, assisted by redshirt senior defender Will Perkins and graduate student midfielder Louis Sala.
It was Stout’s second goal of the season, the first was scored during the Big Bear Trophy game contributing to MSU’s victory over the Wolverines Sept. 27.
Rutgers quickly evened it out. Senior defender Hugo Le Guennec sent the ball to the bottom center of the net, assisted by sophomore midfielder Matthew Acosta.
Stout returned to the box nine minutes later to regain the lead once again, sealing his second goal of the game.
“He’s been really coming on,” Head Coach Damon Rensing said. "He was injured at the beginning of the year so he’s just starting to find his form but obviously he can do some special things out there. They weren’t just goals, they were special goals, they were electric. He’s got a chance to do some really good things as long as he keeps working and staying humble which I think he will.”
The Spartans’ lead was short-lived. Within 17 seconds, Rutgers sped down the field, and junior forward Ola Malend found the equalizer for the Scarlet Knights, changing the scoreboard to read 2-2.
The Spartans, determined to grab the lead, attempted the goal. Redshirt junior midfielder Kellan Landefeld drove the ball to the bottom center of the net, assisted by freshman forward Jake Spadafora. It was not only Landefeld’s first goal of the season, but his first career goal at MSU.
“It was a great team effort to come out and put four past the Rutgers team and hold on for three at the end,” Landefeld said. It’s a great feeling and great to go second in the Big Ten.”
MSU started the second half off strong on both sides of the field. Stout continued to show face in the box, leading the charge offensively with three total shots in the second half, coming close to a hat trick.
“God blessed me a little bit,” Stout said. “Two deflections on the goals, a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill. Either way, a goal’s a goal and just trying to move forward and get even more the rest of the season.”
With under 17 minutes left in the game, junior forward Greyson Mercer made it 4-2 MSU with a shot to the back center of the net, assisted by Stout.
The freshmen have been big huge contributors to MSU’s success this season.
“We’re starting to really grow with our young guys and our leaders are continuing to develop,” Rensing said. “To have a lead twice and give it away, and then have the perseverance to get a third and then a fourth goal to at least make my life a little bit easier until the last minute. ... Really proud of the guys.”
MSU will travel to College Park on Friday where they will face the Maryland Terrapins, No. 1 in the Big Ten. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
“I was extremely proud of the guys,” Rensing said. “We’ve been off to a great start and Rutgers is a really potent team and I think one of the top in the country in goals. For us to come in here and score four on them and outscore them was huge. ... Now we’re sitting in second place going to first place Maryland on Friday.”
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