EAST LANSING, Mich. – After starting their season with two ties and a loss against Washington on Friday, Michigan State men’s soccer wrapped up their four-game homestand with a tough 2-1 overtime loss to Cornell.
Cornell started early with a good offensive push, but MSU didn’t have trouble keeping up. Both teams went back and forth down the field, but neither team could score.
The Spartans struggled to maintain any sort of rhythm against Cornell’s high press system. This has been the theme of Spartan soccer all season: Not being able to find their groove.
And Cornell found theirs late, knocking off the Spartans with a late goal from Will Citron to take the match in the 95th minute.
“It’s frustrating. You just need to keep going you know. It was a very good goal, but it’ll come,” said MSU goalkeeper Hunter Morse. “We have a lot of guys out now. We just have to stay healthy, keep going, keep pushing, and train well.”
The Big Red were physical throughout the first half with three Spartans getting knocked down, including defenseman Olu Ogunwale, who took a big hit during the first half.
On the last second of the first half, Cornell’s John Scearce ran the ball up the field and took a shot but it was deflected and MSU’s Morse put a stop to it before it could go in the net.
Both teams started the second half sitting at 0-0. It wasn’t until the 62nd minute that Cornell’s Harry Fuller drove up the field and put a point up on the board for the Big Red.
Then MSU decided it was enough in the 79th minute when Farai Mutatu and Alex Shterenberg took control of the ball and assisted forward Alaa Algahim as he cut to the right side of the Cornell goal for the Spartan’s first goal of the game.
The game continued to stay 1-1 as both teams battled in a back and forth match.
MSU continued to get bumped around by Cornell as the game continued its physical style and with fifteen minutes left to go, the score was still tied.
With 14 seconds to go, Cornell took one last shot at walking out with a regulation win, but was unable to connect. The pattern of not being able to take over continued as the game ended at 1-1 in regulation and went into overtime.
“We created danger, which I think is good but scoring goals in college is hard. You can go look at the scores and every once in a while you’ll see a 4-3, but it’s rarely like that,” said MSU head coach Damon Rensing. “It’s usually 1-0, 2-1, but I thought in the second half we came alive.”
Rensing and the Spartans are no stranger to overtime, as they played in four overtime matches last year on their way to a final four appearance in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament.
“We showed a lot of character. Sometimes the result doesn’t come your way, but I thought we got better. We had concussions, injuries, battled a very direct style of play, and I thought our guys played some good soccer,” said Rensing. “It was an unfortunate overtime and just kind of a game of chances and mistakes, but I was really proud of our guys. I like this group, and we’re going to get better going forward.”
Both teams play next Saturday, Sept. 14 with Cornell facing Fairleigh Dickinson at home and Michigan State going on the road to Dartmouth.