Spartan Soccer Falls to Michigan in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Despite a first-half goal from freshman forward Gianni Ferri, sixth-seeded Michigan State men’s soccer saw its season come to an end, 2-1 against third-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Sunday in Ann Arbor.
Michigan State concludes its season with a 3-12-3 record, while Michigan improves to 10-4-4. The Wolverines advance to take on second-seeded Penn State in College Park, Maryland on Nov. 15.
“In the first half we really didn’t give up much and I was happy about that. Gianni had some good chances and then a great goal. It was a great pass from Olu and just a great finish from Gianni. It was a great start, and I was happy with that,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.
In the 10th minute, the Spartans strung together several nice passes and found the leg of Ferri on the left side. His shot drift wide of the net, but the MSU offense continued to keep UM on its toes.
The Spartans got on the board first in the in the 21st minute, breaking a four-game scoreless streak. Ferri netted his second goal of the season play that started on the right side of the field with sophomore midfielder Olu Ogunwale. The midfielder connected with Ferri who beat UM goalkeeper Owen Finnerty from close range.
Michigan State was solid in the first half as well with redshirt-midfielder Alex Shterenberg preventing a Mohammed Zakyi shot to cross the line in the 22nd minute.
In the 60th minute, Michigan found the equalizer after a failed MSU clearance. Derick Broche collected the ball and found the lower left corner of the net to tie the score 1-1.
The Spartans kept pressing looking for the go-ahead goal. In the 61st minute Ferri’s long-distance shot sailed just high. He ended the game with a team-high four shots.
After scoring their first goal, the Wolverines increased pressure on the offensive end. In the 73rd minute, Michigan took the lead after a Jack Hallahan bent hit the ground and slipped in the goal.
“We know this season didn’t go the way we wanted, but that is how life is. Life doesn’t just roll out and give you want you want, so for us this will make 26 players stronger people and better soccer players. For our seniors, (Michael) Pimlott, (Michael )Wetungu, (Cody) Sweatte and (Giuseppe) Barone, for four years have represented this program and athletic and university with class and dignity, and we are extremely proud of them. They will be successful at life because of who they are,” Rensing said.
Senior defender Michael Wetungu returned to the Spartan starting lineup after injuring his shoulder at Northwestern on Oct. 25. After missing two games, we played all 90 minutes against the Wolverines.
“Wetungu was a warrior today, you could tell that his fitness wasn’t quite where it needed to be, but he was unbelievable. His physical presence really altered the game in a positive way for Michigan State. He got to go out on his own terms,” Rensing added.
For the game, Michigan out-shot the Michigan State 12-10 with a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.