A Hard-Fought Battle Gives MSU Fifth Win

In a competitive match between Bowling Green and No. 16 Michigan State on Wednesday, the Spartans came out victorious, 1-0, on a late goal.

At the beginning of the game, Michigan State was put under pressure from a Falcons team that pushed their defensive line high and pushed their strikers forward to chase the ball.

“Very sluggish in the first half,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “We kind of warned the guys coming off a huge win against Maryland. There is no excuse for it. We just weren’t sharp enough to break them down in the first half and they were getting chances off our mistakes.”

The Falcons had a few good scoring chances off set-pieces, but their best chance came in the 26th minute when senior midfielder, Danny Baraldi, hit a shot from the top of the 18-yard-box which forced junior goalkeeper, Zach Bennett, to dive to his left and push the ball out-of-bounds for a corner.

“I knew they had some pretty good free kick takers,” Bennett said. “We’re pretty big in the back line, pretty good in the air. They actually hit some pretty good ones. They had some whip on them. They didn’t have too much height so it was definitely difficult.”

It was not until the final minute of the first half when the Spartans finally got a good look at goal when junior midfielder, Jay Chapman, struck a hard, low-hit ball that just went wide of the Bowling Green net.

The final 45 minutes were a whole different story for the Spartans, as they came out with pace and put pressure on the Falcon defense.

Between the 47th and 60th minute, the Spartans’ up-tempo pace gave them several scoring opportunities, which included multiple dangerous crosses inside the middle of the 18-yard-box and a shot from senior midfielder, Fatai Alashe, that was hit outside the box and struck the post.

In the 62nd minute, Alashe would have another great scoring opportunity off a penalty kick as junior midfielder, Jake Martin, fouled an MSU player inside BGSU’s 18-yard-box.

Alashe stepped up to take the penalty kick and hit it high to the left of the Falcon redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, Nick Landsberger, and off the crossbar for a goal kick.

“Credit to our guys in the second half,” Rensing said. “We saved a breakaway, hit the post, drew a penalty. I think if you look at the chances created in the second half it was very good.”

In the 79th minute, the Spartans would capitalize on one of their chances, as freshman midfielder, Ken Krolicki, hit a shot at the goalkeeper inside the box. which caused a rebound that redshirt senior forward, Tim Kreutz, ran onto and put the ball in the back of the net.

“Somebody played a nice ball in behind and that’s kind of what we talked about in the second half, getting those balls in behind and pressuring their backline and goalie who liked to step-up,” Kreutz said. “Ken (Krolicki) just worked his (butt) off and got a toe in there and a little deflection, and I just beat my defender to the ball and just poked it in there.”

After Kreutz scored the goal, his celebration did not last very long as he and Landsberger accidentally collided inside the box.

“I was so excited to celebrate and I think it was the shortest celebration I’ve ever had,” Kreutz said. “I take one turn and just got a shoulder to the face. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but next thing I know I am on the ground and people asking me, ‘Is it a goal?’ and I am holding my face.”

Kreutz’s goal stood as the lone goal of the match, giving the Spartans a 1-0 victory. The win against Bowling Green now puts the Spartans at 5-1-1 going into their first Big Ten home match of the season on Sunday when they play host to Rutgers at 1 p.m.

“Their front four or five are very talented, dynamic and dangerous. We’ll have our hands full with them,” Rensing said.

Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports