Stacy’s Play Powers Win for Men’s Soccer

The Spartans continued their success against Western Michigan University as they found the back of the net four times to come away with the 4-0 win on Wednesday.

It did not take long for Michigan State to find the back of the net after earning a free kick in the fourth minute.

From 35 yards out, junior midfielder, Jason Stacy, stepped over the ball and played a cross into the middle of the six-yard-box, which found the head of junior midfielder, Jay Chapman, who headed the ball into the goal to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.

“It was a good ball from Jason,” Chapman said. “Again, I just did what Kylie [Stannard] drills into us and I just got on the end of it and it was a good goal and it was a good way to start the game off like that.”

The Broncos pressed the Michigan State defense and created scoring opportunities, but could only get a few shots on target as the Michigan State defense blocked the majority of them.

The Spartans regained their composure and in the 22nd minute they would find the back of the net again as a misplayed clearance by junior midfielder, Sean Conerty, from a long ball from junior defender, Zach Carroll, found open space 30 yards from goal. Stacy ran onto the ball and struck a frozen rope into the back of the net to give Michigan State a 2-0 lead.

“I mean you literally dream of those moments and you see it in the English Premier League and in Major League Soccer,” Stacy said. “Just to score a goal like that, there is no feeling like it. I mean, I am on a full sprint up to the ball. It’s a half volley. There’s no better situation for that goal and just gave it a good strike and just on a rope and fortunate for it to end up in the back of the net.”

As the rest of the first half went on, the Broncos had a few more scoring chances from set pieces. One from a free kick in the 32nd minute when junior defender, Sean Hazen, received a short pass from Conerty and struck a shot that found junior goalkeeper, Zach Bennett.

The rest were from corner kicks which Western Michigan could not get on to inside the Michigan State box.

“I think one of the important things that we pride ourselves in is playing every game like it’s the most important game of the season, and today we came out and did that,” senior midfielder, Fatai Alashe, said.

Coming out of halftime, Michigan State kept up their tempo and in the 48th minute on a Stacy free kick, Carroll found the back of the net off a cross which he hit on a volley inside the six-yard-box to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead.

Very similar to the first half, the Broncos would find scoring opportunities in spurts, but could not put any of them away as the relentless Spartan offense continued to create more scoring opportunities.

Off another set piece in the 56th minute, this time a corner kick from Stacy, Alashe found the back of the net off a header at the top of the six-yard-box.

“I beat my man to (the ball) and just kind of tried to flick it,” Alashe said. “I was falling backwards, and tried to flick it back post and got kinda lucky.”

The Broncos had no answer being down 4-0, and for the last 34 minutes the teams remained scoreless.

“I don’t think you ever expect a 4-0 win,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “I could tell at the start of the game that our guys were focused. When you are playing like that, sometimes the ball flies your way and all of a sudden you look up and you got three or four goals.”

Michigan State has two days off to rest, recover and prepare for Penn State University, who sit at the top of the table in the Big Ten with 12 points.

“I am nervous going into every game, but I am starting to trust this team,” Rensing said. “I think us coaches need to trust them more, not so much that we are just going to win every game, but I think they’re coming in with the right mindset and try to play.”

Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports

Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports