EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Spartans and Crusaders met for their 15th game between one-another in Sunday’s Grizzly/Spartan Crossover Tournament. Michigan State held a 10-1-3 advantage against the Valparaiso Crusaders before a 2-1 loss, dropping the Spartans to a 2-1-0 season record.
“There’s not an easy win in Division I soccer,” Michigan State head coach Damon Rensing said to msuspartans.com.“We hammer that home. They were sharp, they were smart,” said Rensing to msuspartans.com. “We just didn’t deal with some things. We need guys out there who are going to make good decisions and we just weren’t very sharp on our decision-making and execution. When you do that, you give a team like Valparaiso a chance. I thought we gave them a chance and they took advantage of it.”
The Crusaders began goal scoring in the 22nd minute, when Valparaiso defender Yannick Iwunze delivered a cross to the front where no Spartan could manage to clear the ball to safety. The free ball rolled to the foot of a wide-open Todd Vervynckt, who placed it in the lower left side of the goal, giving an early 1-0 lead to the Crusaders.
The Spartans were not able to respond until the 66th minute when a Ryan Thelen corner kick allowed a header to be directed for a goal. Cope’s goal tied the game at 1-1, and was the defender’s second goal of the season and third of his career.
Valparaiso junior Nick Suker would take the lead again for the Crusaders in the 78th minute. Redshirt senior Daniel Killen’s shot would be blocked and the rebound would land at Suker’s feet where he placed it just past Spartan goaltender Zach Bennett to take a late 2-1 lead. The Spartans ran out of time to fire back.
“Michigan State is a great team and they are going to have a great season,” Valparaiso head coach Mike Avery said to valpoahletics.com. “As the season goes on, this result is going to get bigger and bigger – Michigan State is going to have a lot of good things happen for them because they are a very good team.”
The Spartans next game will begin their first road trip of the season. Michigan State takes on Detroit Mercy on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 5 p.m at Titan Field.
“We need to be ready to go for Detroit, because if we’re not they’re jumping at the chance to beat Michigan State, as well,” Rensing said to msuspartans.com. “We need to focus on being a winning team and doing the things it takes to win and not just always looking to be on the ball.”
Jonathan Yales is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales
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