Spartans Celebrate Alumni Day Shutting Out Badgers, 1-0
Louis Sala’s first goal of the season put the Spartans on top
EAST LANSING, Mich. (MSU Athletics) - Michigan State men’s soccer celebrated Alumni Day with a 1-0 shutout victory over Wisconsin on a sunny Sunday at DeMartin Stadium.
With the win, the Spartans even out their record to 4-4-2 overall and remain undefeated in Big Ten action with a 2-0-1 mark. MSU has gone 3-1-1 in its last five games, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. Wisconsin falls to 3-5-1 overall and 0-3-0 in league contests.
“I was just proud of the guys; it was a gutsy effort. I am not going to tell you it was our best soccer performance of the year, but we had a tough week. We played at No. 16 Indiana and got a road tie, and then had an electric Tuesday night game with Michigan with 3,000 fans,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. “We just didn’t have the legs today. We found a way to score a goal and keep a shutout.”
Wisconsin held the bulk of possession for much of the first half, but were unable to take advantage. Senior goalkeeper Owen Finnerty recorded two saves in the first half to keep the clean sheet.
Michigan State took advantage of its only first-half shot on goal late in the first half. In the 44th minute, senior midfielder Louis Sala netted his first goal of the season. The play started to the ride side with a ball from freshman defender Jeremy Sharp, who then found fellow freshman Jonathan Stout. The forward connected with Sala who slipped the ball past UW goalkeeper Carter Abbott.
At half time, Michigan State recognized alumni dating back to the 1950s.
The second half never found much of a rhythm of either team. Wisconsin out-shot Michigan State 5-3 in the second half and 11-7 for the game. MSU had its best chances in the second half in the 60th minute stringing together a pair of opportunities. Redshirt-junior midfielder Kellan Landefeld’s blast was blocked and was collected by Sharp, whose follow up shot was stopped by Abbott.
The Spartans earned back-to-back shutout victories for the first time since defeating Penn State (1-0) and Northwestern (2-0) Nov. 19-25, 2017. Finnerty recorded his first MSU shutout against Michigan 2-0 on Sept. 27.
Michigan State now hits the road to take on No. 20 Penn State on Friday, Oct. 7. The Spartans then return home to face Saint Mary’s on Oct. 11 and Rutgers on Oct. 16.
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