Michigan State wins Big Bear Trophy


MSU celebrates Big Bear Trophy. Sept.27, 2022 Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jay DeCoster, Soccer Beat Reporter

East Lansing, Mich. – For the first time since 2017, Michigan State men’s soccer took home the Big Bear Trophy after a 2-0 win over the Michigan Wolverines, on a rainy night at DeMartin Stadium. 

Tuesday night’s victory was complemented by a sell-out crowd of 3,047 in attendance- the largest of the season. 

“The Red Cedar Rowdies and that student section was unreal,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “I tell you what, when you have a 2-0 lead with eight minutes left, and you have tired legs, that pushes you to victory. I don’t think those guys were going to lose in front of that crowd.” 

The Spartans started off fast, thanks to senior defender Nick Stone lofting a cross into the Michigan box, with junior forward Greyson Mercer heading the ball into the back of the net, making it 1-0 Spartans. 

“It was an early goal”, Mercer said. “That was unbelievable, and that environment was overpowering. When I slid for that celly, I felt like I was on a pro field. I was really great.”

MSU’s defensive effort stood tall throughout the match, in part because of senior goalkeeper Owen Finnerty, who recorded his first clean sheet as a Spartan, including seven saves and five of them coming in the second half. Finnerty was a member of the Michigan soccer program for three seasons before transferring to East Lansing last spring. 

“It really didn’t sink in until after the whistle, it feels great,” Finnerty said. “The guys worked hard for 90 minutes. We were up 2-0 with a minute left and the guys were putting their bodies on the line. I couldn’t ask for more for those guys and the clean sheet was the cherry on top.” 

In the late stages of the contest, MSU had many opportunities to secure a win, including hitting the post twice. Freshman forward Jonathan Stout would collect his own rebound and kick it back towards the back of the net, making it 2-0 Spartans. 

The game clincher would result in Stout’s first career goal as a Spartan. 

“It feels amazing. This is the best crowd of the season and the best fan section in the nation to get me and the whole team hyped,” Stout said. This is the first time most of us have had the Bear at DeMartin and it’s so nice to have it back.” 

MSU moved to 3-4-2 on the season and will continue Big Ten conference play, where the Wisconsin Badgers travel to DeMartin Stadium for a 2 p.m kickoff.