The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans’ men’s soccer team finished their regular season with a 1-1 tie against the No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon in a game with Big Ten title implications on the line. The Spartans also celebrated their six seniors playing in their regular season home finale.
The first half started with Indiana controlling most of the possession and creating a lot of chances on goal. The Hoosiers held an 8-4 shot lead in the first half. However, the Spartan defense would only break once when the Hoosiers were awarded a penalty kick in the 25th minute and Trevor Swartz was able to convert.
“I think we started off a little slow, we ran before the game but they just came out flying at us. It was a little slow the first half,” said senior defender Jimmy Fiscus. “But, we came out at the second half determined and willing to win.”
Out of the half, the Spartans came with a fire and took back control of possession for the rest of the match. In the 61st minute, senior Ken Krolicki was brought down in the box, giving a penalty kick to MSU. Junior Ryan Sierakowski was able to convert the equalizer for his seventh goal of the season. The goal made Michigan State just the fourth team this year to score on Indiana.
“I think we responded, and really played well in the second half and were the aggressors, and probably a little disappointed to not got a win, but we tied the game,” said head coach Damon Rensing.
After several chances for both the Hoosiers and Spartans, none were able to find the back of the net. That led to free soccer in East Lansing as the game went into overtime. Neither team was able to finish, and the game ended after two periods of extra time.
Krolicki said that even with a tie, the game today will prepare them for the upcoming tournaments.
“Indiana is one of the best teams in the nation, and the NCAA tournament we play opponents like that every game,” the midfielder said. “We enjoy the moment, you know. Every game it’s intense, I mean that’s why we play soccer, but every game is like that so we’re (going to be) prepared for the tournament”
Going into the game, the Spartans were a part of a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten alongside Indiana and Maryland, who all held 5-0-2 records. With the 1-1 tie, all eyes were on College Park, where the fourth-place Michigan Wolverines defeated the Terrapins to jump over all three teams and win the title outright.
The game marked the final of the season and the last regular season game for six seniors including Fiscus, Krolicki, Brad Centala, Ryan Scott, Michael Marcantognini, and Phil Stair. It was also the second straight season the Spartans finished the year undefeated at DeMartin Stadium.
“This program has meant everything to me,” Fiscus said. “I’ve never met a tighter group of guys that are willing to be my brothers and it just shows today how they fought all those minutes just to put on a performance for us and for the team and put the brand first and I think that’s what it’s all about here at Michigan State, putting the brand first.”
The next test will come in the Big Ten Tournament, where Michigan State is ranked No. 3 and will play Ohio State next Sunday at DeMartin Stadium.
“It’s good that we got our momentum going late in the year instead of early,” Fiscus said.