EAST LANSING, Wis. - Playing in rainy and windy conditions, the Michigan State men’s soccer team battled to earn a 1-1 draw against defending national champion and No. 25-ranked Maryland Friday at soggy DeMartin Stadium.
The game was called by the referee after 90 minutes of action to protect the players due to the deterioration of the field. Both teams earn a point in the Big Ten standing. Michigan State is now 2-6-3 overall and 2-1-1 in league play. The Terps are now 6-3-2 overall and 1-1-2 in the Big Ten standings.
MSU is now 1-2-1 against ranked teams this season.
“Once the game kicks off, the decision is in the referee’s hands. He asked Sasho (Cirovski) and I what we thought, and we agreed it’s was his decision to make the right call. He consulted out facilities people about drying the field. We didn’t have anything that would do it quickly. It would have been done by hand and taken too long so for the safety of the student-athletes the referee made the decision to stop the game. You can second guess it or go back-and-forth but everybody come off healthy, and so we finished with a 1-1 draw,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.
For the third time this season, Michigan State scored in the first half with less than two minutes remaining in the period. Senior midfielder Michael Pimlott netted his first goal of the season with a long-range blast off a lengthy pass from freshman forward Gianni Ferri to put the Spartans up 1-0. Ferri now has one goal and one assist for three points this season.
In the second half, the field conditions continued to deteriorate, but the Terrapins were able to find the equalizer in the 78th minute. Justin Gielen scored his first goal of the season on a re-start. Johannes Bergmann found Gielen who slid the ball past redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Hunter Morse to tie the score.
From that point, Maryland looked to take the lead, out-shooting MSU 11-2 in the second half. Morse was clutch in the final 45 minutes making four saves. The Spartan backline also kept a ball from crossing the line in the 59th minute.
“I thought Pimlott, not just because he scored, but he ran the midfield, lead, and took control. I think our two center backs, (Patrick) Nielsen and (Michael) Wetungu, were good. Last thing for me, our two freshmen up top that’s a tough game. Gianni Ferri and Conner George kind of tag teamed. Gianni had the assist, but I thought they held the ball well, worked and did some good things. All-in-all, there wasn’t anybody I thought really struggled in the game, but I thought those guys had a couple top performances,” Rensing said.
Michigan State now hits the road to take on another team that reached the NCAA College Cup Championship when it travels to Akron on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. The Spartans will then host Ohio State on alumni day on Saturday, Oct. 19 as part of a Alumni Day doubleheader with the MSU women.