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MSU defeats Indiana 2-1 to remain undefeated

September 23, 2023
<p>Michigan State’s players, Cristiano Bruletti and Jeremy Sharp during the game against Indiana University at DeMartin Soccer Field on Sept. 22, 2023.</p>

Michigan State’s players, Cristiano Bruletti and Jeremy Sharp during the game against Indiana University at DeMartin Soccer Field on Sept. 22, 2023.

The Spartans secured a 2-1 victory against Indiana University this past Friday in Big Ten Conference play. This win marks the Spartans first time defeating the Hoosiers since 2015, while also continuing the impressive unbeaten start to Michigan State’s season.

Friday night’s win comes off the back of a 1-1 draw against Rutgers in which Rutgers would equalize in the final two seconds of the match.

Spartan Head Coach Damon Rensing elected to make only one change to his starting 11, with junior midfielder Sean Kerrigan starting on the bench in favor of freshman forward Richie Ludwig.

“We have a really good attacking core, and we were rotating. Part of it is just finding the right combination so we went with Richie,” Rensing said when asked about the dropping of Kerrigan.

The first chance of the match would come early for the Spartans when sophomore midfielder Jake Spafadora went driving down the left flank to the top of the 18-yard box before cutting on to his favored right, and firing a shot at the bottom right corner that was just met by the diving hands of the Indiana goalkeeper Harms.

The Hoosiers were quick to respond as just 4 minutes later they called on sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly to produce a huge save in his box. Kelly executed a flash save with an outstretched right leg after Indiana forward Server got himself free in the box.

In the 14th minute the Spartans struck first through freshman forward Richie Ludwig who received the ball on the top of the 18-yard box, taking down a lofted pass from sophomore midfielder Cristiano Bruletti before bursting past his man, and firing a shot towards the bottom left corner giving the IU keeper Harms no chance and Ludwig his first collegiate goal.

“Scoring that goal, it was a perfect ball from Cristiano, and I just happened to take a good touch… All credit to the fans showing out it makes everything better, sharing that goal with them,” said Ludwig.

The Hoosiers were quick to equalize following a cheap MSU turnover in the midfield. The ball fell to the feet of McDonald of IU. McDonald would then in his own half pick his head up before dropping a ball right onto the chest of Sarver who needed only one touch to take the pass down, and the second to fire the ball into the back of the net despite sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly getting a hand to it.

Indiana continued to push for a second when Mihalic of IU fired a shot from 30 odd yards out that would have Kelly beat, but rolled just wide of Kelly’s right post in the 35th minute.

The final chance of the half would fall to Indiana when Helmer picked his ball up, chipping a ball into the 18-yard box and on to the chest of Oduro who was unable to control the pass to get a shot off. Sending both sides into the half squared.

The first action of the half came in the 52nd minute from a MSU set piece that saw senior defender Eljah Howe nod back the initial cross into the six-yard box bouncing around before it fell to the feet of freshman forward Richie Ludwig who set himself before just pulling his shot wide of the left post.

IU’s first chance came in the 57th minute when Mihalic of Indiana broke into the 18-yard box on the left side firing a shot that took a nasty deflection off of freshman defender Will Eby directing the ball goalwards, but sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly was able to produce a save pushing the ball wide.

In the 60th minute, sophomore forward Jonathan Stout would find himself breaking in behind the Indiana backline before being taken down by Bacharach who went on to receive a yellow for the late tackle.

In the 71st minute, sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly was called into action for the first time in the half when Mihalic turned his man before ripping a shot that Kelly initially struggled to catch before pouncing on the second ball to prevent any second chances.

In the 76th minute, sophomore forward Jonathan Stout got slipped down the left flank before he went driving into the Indiana 18-yard box, before getting cut down by the outstretched leg of Shreffler.

It was junior midfielder Sean Kerrigan who stepped up to take the penalty, as he smashed it into the roof of the top right corner to restore the Spartan lead and give himself his third of the season.

“It’s a great feeling, all credit to John Stout drew the penalty, the boys worked their asses off and that's what got us the points” Kerrigan said about scoring his third game winning goal of the season.

Just seconds later, the Spartans went searching for a third after a cross from sophomore forward Jake Spadafora found sophomore midfielder Jack Guggemos in the six-yard box, but his headed effort would just glance over the bar.

In the final ten minutes, the Spartans looked to set up shop to protect their lead, dropping all eleven men behind the ball on most occasions. 

Amidst the onslaught of long balls and crosses into the Spartan 18-yard box, they found a chance to counter in the 85th minute going on a four on three break that saw freshman forward Richie Ludwig finding himself free before rolling a shot at the bottom right corner that was met by the outstretched and diving hand of Harms. In what would be the final chance of the match.

“I’m really proud of our guys. Indiana is a really good program who is also well coached… I think we came out really well in the second half and made a couple adjustments.” Rensing said when asked about what it was like to beat the Hoosiers for the first time since 2015. “If you want to win the league you gotta win home games.”

The Spartans will be back in action early next week, when Oakland University makes their way to East Lansing on Tuesday Sept. 65th, with kickoff set for 7pm ET, and streaming available on Big Ten Plus.

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