November 9, 2012
By Kathryn Knapp
Home field doesn’t help as NU drops semi 3-0 to Michigan; MIchigan State advance past Penn State
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
EVANSTON, Ill. – Sunday’s Big Ten Championship will be an all Michigan final. Michigan topped Northwestern 3-0 in Friday’s second semifinal match. Michigan State upset Penn State in the first match of the day by a 3-1 margin. As Michigan Head Coach Chaka Daley said, “It will be a local derby.” Only this time it will be on Northwestern’s field.
Michigan started out strong, dominating play and shutting down the defending Big Ten Champions. A fourth minute goal sealed the fate for the visiting team, as the home team fought to catch up.
“Scoring the goal early set the tone for the match,” Daley said. “The last time we played Northwestern, they really took care of us. They’re a very good team, even better on their home field. Defensively we were strong tonight.”
UM Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis stood strong for the Wolverines in goal, stopping all the opportunities that Northwestern had. It was a frustrating day for the home team, who saw their NCAA tournament hopes dwindle.
“We just didn’t have it today,” Northwestern Head Coach Tim Lenahan said. “We were out-fought and out-witted today. The better team won. We didn’t really have an answer for their energy.”
The match was a complete turn around for the Wildcats who dominated Ohio State in Wednesday’s finale by a 2-0 margin. They shut down the Buckeyes and looked to be in championship form. Friday, they came out flat. Northwestern won the championship last season on Northwestern’s field. This year Michigan has the opportunity to repay the favor.
Michigan will regroup before taking the field Sunday against MSU in the final.
“Michigan State is doing the same thing we are. We’ll see what kind of energy we have left in the tank. There are no more excuses. We have an opportunity to win something bigger.”
Michigan advanced to the final by topping Wisconsin 1-0, and Northwestern 3-0. Michigan State earned wins against Indiana (2-1) and Penn State (3-1). Sunday’s final should be evenly matched.
In the first game, after a scoreless first half, the Spartans took the lead out of the gate in the second half as Sean Conerty sent in a cross from right of the goal, where Cody Henderson was able to send the loose ball in the left corner of the net. Michigan State increased the lead in the 54th minute as Fatai Alashe snuck through the middle of the defense before looking left to Adam Montague, who put it home to make it 2-0
The clubs exchanged goals as time wound down in the final five minutes. The Spartans added a third goal in the 86th minute from Jay Chapman before Minh Vu pulled one back for the Nittany Lions in the 88th minute.