Courtesy of Bowling Green Athletic Communications
EAST LANSING, Mich - Tim Kreutz scored late in the first half to lift host Michigan State Universitiy to a 1-0 win over the Bowling Green State University men's soccer team Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 18). The non-conference match was held at DeMartin Stadium.
With the win, the Spartans improve to 4-1-0 on the season, while dropping the Falcons to 1-3-2. MSU entered the match receiving votes in several national polls, and the Spartans are tied for sixth in the Great Lakes Region in the NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings.
The goal came when Kreutz took a through ball from Adam Montague as he headed into the penalty area. Kreutz ran onto the ball and hit a left-footed shot across his body, and the ball rolled into the lower right-hand corner of the net at the 37:11 mark.
The Spartans had a 20-12 advantage in total shot attempts, and both teams put eight shots on goal. Zach Bennett was credited with eight saves for the Green and White, while senior Michael Wiest had seven stops in his complete-match effort for the Falcons.
Junior Anthony Grant led the Brown and Orange with four shots, putting all four on goal.
Wiest's first save on the day came when Jay Chapman tried to catch the BGSU senior napping. Chapman fired a long shot from near midfield, but Wiest was able to tip the ball over the crossbar.
As the first half neared its midway point, senior Ryan Snashall worked a give and go with junior Danny Baraldi. Snashall received Baraldi's return pass and slid a pass to Grant, but the assistant referee's flag was raised, and offside was called on the Falcons.
Soon after that play, Snashall and Grant teamed up with sophomore Ryan James to work the ball into the MSU end. James got the ball to Grant, who won a corner kick, but the Spartans were able to deal with that corner, as Bennett grabbed the ball in traffic.
Wiest made a diving save on Conerty in the 25th minute, and the Falcons headed th other way. Snashall made a long run downfield and won another BGSU corner kick. That kick, taken by Baraldi, found the head of sophomore Jake Genrich on the far side. Genrich headed the ball back toward the middle, and Snashall nodded the ball toward goal, but Bennett again came up with the ball in traffic.
Several minutes later, Baraldi played a cross into the middle of the box, where the ball, senior Zach Schewee and a Spartan defender all arrived at the same time. The ball caromed out of the box to senior Joey D'Agostino, who fired a laser that was blocked by an MSU defender.
Senior Sean Sikich hit a long shot from near midfield that forced Bennett to make a leaping save with 11 minutes left in the period. The Spartans headed the other way, and Kreutz fired a shot that Wiest stopped with a diving effort.
Back came the Falcons, as James played the ball forward to Grant on the left side of the box. Grant's low shot was saved by Bennett at the near post.
Bennett's quick outlet pass led to a Spartan counterattack, and that play culminated with the Kreutz goal with 7:49 left in the half.
Ninety seconds after the goal, Falcon freshman Joe Sullivan was fouled just outside the box. Grant's free kick, however, was saved by Bennett.
BG threatened twice within a minute's time as the clock ticked under four minutes. First, redshirt freshman Max Auden hit a nifty diagonal ball into the box. Senior Ryan Comiskey chested the ball down, but was unable to get a shot off in traffic, and MSU cleared the ball out of the box.
BG quickly won the ball back, and the Falcons played it into the box once again. This time, Comiskey was facing away from goal, and headed the ball back over his head. Junior Vlad Lekarev was there for a diving header from the six-yard line, but the shot went just wide of the left goalpost.
The second half saw the Falcons generate precious few shots on goal. BGSU continually built the attack, but could not test Bennett on more than several occasions.
With 10 minutes gone in the half, Grant slid a pass to D'Agostino on the right side of the penalty area. D'Agostino's bad-angle shot was saved by Bennett.
Midway through the period, Baraldi's through ball found Grant, who hit a low shot from the left side that forced Bennett to dive to trap the ball at the near post.
With 14 minutes to go, Grant had a chance, but Bennett blocked his close-range effort. The rebound went to Comiskey at the top of the box, but the senior, hounded by several defenders, could not get a shot off.
Ten-plus minutes remained when Baraldi hit a hard shot from distance, but the effort was blocked by a defender.
At the other end, Wiest made several nice plays to keep the Falcons within a single goal. With seven minutes to go, the senior came off of his line to take the ball away from a wide-open Kreutz on a semi-breakaway.
Then, Wiest robbed Kreutz again, making a one-handed save on a one-timer by the Spartan striker. With the Falcons pressing forward in an effort to tie the match, the home team countered, and Conerty brought the ball down the right side and slid a pass to the onrushing Kreutz. His hard shot caught Wiest momentarily leaning the wrong way, but the senior got a glove on the ball and kept the Spartans from getting a rebound.
BGSU's last chance came when a diagonal ball by Auden was caught by Bennett in the box with just under two minutes to go.
The MSU match was the first in a stretch of five consecutive road games for the Brown and Orange. BGSU now prepares for a Saturday (Sept. 21) match at the University of Akron. The match, the Mid-American Conference opener, begins at 1:00 p.m. in the Rubber City.