November 11, 2012
by Kathryn L. Knapp
BIG TEN CHAMPS
Michigan State tops Michigan 2-1
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
EVANSTON, Ill. Ė Sunday afternoon there was a 12th man on the pitch at Lakeside Field Ė the wind. Thirty-plus mile an hour winds made for an adventurous game. At the end of the day, Michigan State proved the luckier of the two clubs, earning a 2-1 win over Michigan just over seven minutes into the first overtime period.
The win marked Michigan Stateís third Big Ten Championship and an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans topped Indiana, Penn State and Michigan during Big Ten Tournament play, outscoring the clubs 7-3. MSU ended its regular-season campaign with back-to-back 1-0 losses vs. Akron and Michigan. The Big Ten win gives the club a new beginning.
"I think that the game was kind of indicative of our whole year," Head Coach Damon Rensing said. "We had some success, we got down, we weathered the storm. The real credit goes to our players - they really have been so resilient with everything we've been through. This is special."
With the wind at their backs, the Spartans put on the pressure early in the match, outshooting Michigan 10-3. Finally the attack paid dividends when MSUís Adam Montague drilled the ball into the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Second half, the tables quickly turned as Michigan took control. The Wolverines took 10 shots in the second stanza, but it wasnít until the 88th minute that they would score. Michiganís James Murphy headed the ball to T.J. Roehn, who sent a short ball past MSUís Zach Bennett and into the net.
Despite a last minute attempt by Michigan, the game ended in a 1-1 deadlock and headed toward overtime.
Michigan State started with the wind at their backs once again. It didnít take long for them to get what they needed. Sean Conerty blasted a perfect attempt toward goal. The ball bent just inside the upper right corner and in for the 2-1 MSU win.
The Wolverines earned a 1-0 win over MSU just eight days ago. But going into the match, the team new it wouldnít be easy. Michigan topped Wisconsin (1-0) and Northwestern (3-0), en route to the final and leaving almost everything they had on the pitch. U-M finishes the 2012 campaign with a 10-9-1 record. Both clubs await their fate, as the NCAA selection show will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. CST.