MSU plays to second consecutive draw against Michigan

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By Ian Gilmour

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For the first time since 2006, Michigan and Michigan State played to a draw, meaning the Big Bear Trophy will continue its residence in East Lansing until next years matchup. The 1-1 tie featured aggressive attacking and stout defensive play, but neither team could separate themselves from the other.

Of the two teams going through slumps at the moment, Michigan was the one that started faster.

“I thought we started the first half a little slow,” said MSU coach Damon Rensing. “Our speed of play wasn’t right early on.”

The majority of the possession in the first minutes was held by the Wolverines, with the Spartans struggling to get any touches on the ball, much less find a scoring chance.

Senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague came up big for the Spartans in the early stages of the game. Wolverine forward Lucas Rosendall got onto the end of a through ball due to a breakdown in communication of the Spartan center backs, but was denied by Hague, who came out of his box to meet Rosendall and clear the ball. Five minutes later, Hague rejected Rosendall once again when he got onto the end of a Jack Hallahan cross.

Hague stayed busy as Michigan left-back Marcello Borges put a curling effort toward the top right corner, but became the latest player thwarted by Hague’s hands.

After an errant pass from Michael Miller found the feet of Jack Hallahan, Hague was forced into action again. Hallahan’s free kick was headed into the top corner before Hague made a diving effort to keep him out.

“You gotta give Jimmy Hague a lot of credit, he kept us in the game. Our defenders did as well,” said Rensing.

Michigan State did have chances of their own in the first half. After 28 minutes of play, the Spartans appeared to have broken the deadlock. DeJuan Jones bumbled the ball into the net, but the goal was called off as center back Patrick Nielsen fouled Wolverine keeper Henry Mashburn on the knockdown to Jones.

A couple more chances came for the Spartans before the end of the half. John Freitag broke into the box and fired a shot toward Mashburn’s left, but the keeper was equal to the task, pushing the shot wide. On the ensuing corner, Jack Beck put a delightful cross in that fell at the feet of the cluster in the box, but the Wolverines were able to clear, ending the danger. The half ended goalless.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]“You gotta give Jimmy Hague a lot of credit, he kept us in the game. Our defenders did as well.”
-Damon Rensing[/su_pullquote]

The majority of the Spartans’ goals this year have come in the second half (21 of their 27 coming into the night) and that was no different Tuesday night.

“I thought we were actually the more attacking team, we were getting after them in the second half,” Hague said.

They got things going seven minutes into the second half. A short Michigan clearance came to the feet of substitute Jack Beck, who put a first time effort at the middle of Mashburn’s net.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Beck. “Coming to these games when I was younger, I always dreamed of an opportunity like this and I was just fortunate to get the goal today.”

Whether Mashburn’s sight was blocked or it was just an error is unknown, but a save he expected to make instead found the back of his net.

The game began to get more chippy as it went on. Michigan’s Umar Farouk Osman received a yellow card just minutes before the same happened for MSU’s Michael Pimlott. Chances continued to come for both sides, although neither team was really challenging the opposing goalkeeper.

Michigan’s breakthrough came off a free kick in the 77th minute. Austin Swiech swung in a freekick that wasn’t collected by Hague and fell to Noah Kleedtke, who bundled it in off of Sierakowski and the game was suddenly tied at one.

The game picked up energy as it neared the final stages. Two more yellow cards came for the Wolverines in the last 10 minutes as a result of the pressure the Spartans put on the Wolverine defense. Mashburn came up with a couple saves to ensure his team did not go behind with extra time looming.

Michigan State began extra time with great chances. Freitag put a short ball across the box, but Mashburn came off his line to beat freshman Farai Mutatu to the ball. Just seconds after, Hunter Barone danced around his marker and served a cross into the box that wasn’t able to find the head of another Spartan. The Wolverines had a chance of their own that dropped inside Hague’s six yard box, but it was cleared away.

DeJuan Jones was in on goal when he was brought down by Wolverine defender Jackson Ragen. Spartan players and fans alike were appealing for Ragen to be sent packing, but he was given only a yellow.

A shot from each team was all that came in the second extra period, and the game came to a conclusion tied 1-1. This is the first time this matchup has ended in a tie since 2006, meaning no one claims the Big Bear Trophy until 2019.

Michigan State finishes their regular season on Sunday when they travel to Bloomington to take on the No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers.