EAST LANSING – The three-seeded Michigan State men’s soccer team took on No. 6 seed Ohio State for a high-energy match in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals, ultimately falling to the Buckeyes 1-0.
Leading up to this match, the Spartans had no losses until their final Big Ten match, which was also against OSU.
The quarterfinal match against Ohio State University started fiery hot, with a Michigan State shot on goal in the first minute of the game. OSU would return on the Spartans’ end quickly after.
OSU had majority possession in the first half, keeping up with the Spartans’ energy. Zac Kelly shined bright, consistently sending the ball down to the Buckeyes end to help the Spartans. There was a lot of airtime for the ball, which is a Spartan strength.
The Spartans never lost their energy, with notable footwork by senior midfielder Jack Zugay. Sophomore defender Jeremy Sharp came in very assertive with some extra force for MSU. Some more first-half performance highlights came from sophomore forward Jonathan Stout and sophomore midfielder Cristiano Bruletti.
At the end of the first half, the match remained scoreless.
Again, the Spartans had the first shot on goal a minute and a half into the second half. A short time later OSU missed yet another setup, and couldn’t seem to find the net until the 54-minute mark, when the Buckeyes secured their first goal of the night.
Ohio State received a yellow card early in the second half but continued to dominate the match. With 26 minutes remaining, the fans got rowdy and the stadium was buzzing.
In an attempt to bring a mark for Michigan State, Greyson Mercer had a great drive to keep up with the opponent. Speed was of value in this game.
Unfortunately, MSU struggled in the final ten minutes, and couldn’t bring the game back in their favor. In the last 20 seconds with hopes of a possible miracle finish, Mercer popped the ball up for sophomore forward Jake Spadafora to attempt an assist but fell just short of the net.
With a season record of 7-2-7 after this matchup, head coach Damon Rensing had high spirits about the team’s direction.
“They’ve been exceptional,” Rensing said. “Two losses in sixteen games, that’s impressive and I’m very proud of this group..”
Now, the Spartans await the possibility of competing in the NCAA tournament, which will be announced on Monday, Nov. 13.