Spartans fall to Notre Dame, suffer fifth consecutive loss

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Spartans fall to Notre Dame, suffer fifth consecutive loss

Hunter Morse/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Hunter Morse/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Hunter Morse/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Hunter Morse/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Adam Bakr, Men's Soccer Beat Reporter

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EAST LANSING, Mich – The Michigan State men’s soccer team suffered its fifth consecutive loss of the season, as the No. 21-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish marked their road trip to DeMartin with a 1-0 victory. The loss continues MSU’s disappointing start to the season, making it seven games without a win and an 0-5-2 record. 

The Spartans dominated the early stages in this game with one of their best showings of the season, they probably felt hard done after not opening the scoring. First, Farai Mutatu found Gianni Ferri in the box with a low cross, but Keagan McLaughlin was quickly off his line to send it behind for a corner. The following set piece produced the best chance for Michigan State, but Michael Pimlott was unable to put it in after the ball bounced his way after the initial cross. 

Notre Dame found its way into the game late in the half, and had chances to take the lead against the run of play. A slight miscue at the back presented John Rea with an open shot at goal, but his rushed effort from the edge of the box went wide. 

Farai Mutatu/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

The second half saw a new backline for the Spartans. Michael Wetungu was back on the field for the first time since coming out of the Cornell game, but only played one half due to precautionary measures. Nick Stone would move into center back after starting on the right, and Olu Ogunwale played right back, after initially subbing in at right wing during the first half. 

The big chance of the half went to the Fighting Irish. Jack Lynn took a great through ball in stride to find Tyler Shea, who squared it back to Lynn for what looked to be the opener, but a great tackle from Nick Woodruff sent the ball behind for a corner. Soon after, Aiden McFadden’s left-footed curler was heading into the bottom corner, but goalkeeper Hunter Morse was able to put it behind for a corner. 

Notre Dame would not be denied again however, and took the lead with less than 10 minutes to go. A long throw from Spencer Farina into the heart of the box was mishandled by Morse, as he punched the ball to Michael Pellegrino, who showed great composure to control and slot it into the bottom corner through traffic.

From there, the Fighting Irish dealt with a late Michigan State push. With the exception of a late penalty shot, there was not another major chance at the equalizer for the Spartans before the full time whistle would go.

Damon Rensing/Photo: Jacob Herbert

The loss is a tough one to take for Michigan State, as a stellar defensive performance for the majority of the game was undone by a set piece mistake. It was also another night when the offense showed promise, but was ultimately unable to find the back of the net. 

“The players aren’t happy about playing well and losing, and I applaud the guys for that. You can’t fault the effort, they put everything on the line. We’re not super deep right now, so it’s not just this game, it’s the accumulation. I think we’re close, we have a fresh new season with Big Ten and a good Rutgers team approaching.” head coach Damon Rensing said following the game.

“We’re getting there,” Rensing said. “Obviously haven’t scored a goal, but we’re getting into good spots. I thought Farai was dangerous in moments and we had some good looks. If we keep getting into those spots, hopefully we can make a play or two. I think when one or two goes in we’ll be off to the races.”

Contact Adam Bakr at bakradam@msu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamBakr14.