EAST LANSING — The No. 3-seeded Michigan State men’s soccer team fell to sixth-seeded Ohio State, 1-0, in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal Friday night at DeMartin Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, OSU netted the match’s lone goal in the 54th minute and withstood a late MSU rally. The Buckeyes advance to the semifinals to face No. 2 seed Penn State, which beat seventh-seeded Rutgers, 3-0, while the Spartans await an at-large selection to the NCAA tournament.
“The season is not over. It’s the NCAA tournament, and we’re right smack in the middle of it,” MSU coach Damon Rensing said. “We got huge wins against big opponents on the road, so that’s what I’m focused on. As far as tonight’s game, this was a really good playoff game. It came down to one or two plays. Credit to Ohio State, I think they made a play. While we probably had more attacking half possession, we just lacked a little bit of quality in the final third tonight, a little bit of sharpness.
“I am really proud of the guys. What these guys have done over the year and season has been exceptional given all the circumstances. I won’t go into a lot of them, but they’ve been exceptional. We’ve had, what, two losses this year? Two losses in 16 games, that’s impressive. Very proud of this group.”
Ohio State outshot MSU, 10-4, on the night after shots were even at 2-2 in the first half. A majority of the Buckeyes’ second-half shots were in the early portion of the stanza, leading to their goal and being denied by the MSU defense on several other scoring opportunities.
Spartan sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly made two saves while his Buckeye counterpart Max Trejo made one save.
The back-and-forth first half saw two shots apiece and seven fouls by each team, with both defenses holding solid through the first 45 minutes.
Ohio State broke through in the 54th minute as Marko Borkovic had a header that Kelly made an initial sensational, sprawling save on, but Andre Roberts ran onto the rebound and put it in the back of the net for the game’s only goal.
The Spartans pushed for the equalizer, but were continually denied by the OSU defense. MSU kept charging up until the final seconds, when sophomore forward Jake Spadafora’s shot went just wide with less than 20 ticks to play before the clock ran out on MSU’s comeback attempt.
— MSU Athletic Communications
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: MSU men’s soccer falls to Ohio State in Big Ten tourney quarterfinal