No. 13 Spartan Senior Night Ends With Defensive Draw

Michigan State men's soccer (PHOTO:  MSU SID)
Michigan State men's soccer (PHOTO: MSU SID)

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- No. 13 Michigan State men's soccer battled to a defensive scoreless draw with Northwestern Friday night on the Spartans' Senior Night at DeMartin Stadium.

Before the match, the Spartans honored their 10 seniors, Hunter Barone, Connor Corrigan, Robbie Cort, John Freitag, Jimmy Hague, DeJuan Jones, Zach Kovan, Luke Menne, Ryan Sierakowski and Cody Sweatte.

With the draw, MSU is now 10-2-3 overall and 4-1-1 in B1G action. NU moved to 4-7-5 overall and 0-4-2 in conference competition. The Spartans were the Wildcats' fourth ranked opponent in their last seven matches, as Northwestern has played No. 2 Indiana, then-No. 15 Notre Dame and then-No. 19 Michigan.

"I really don't want to think about what it's going to be like without them. We've got a lot of season still to play here. They've been a great group. Obviously, they've accomplished a lot of things, and I'm very proud of them," MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. "Not all of them have played but even the ones that haven't played, I don't think anybody really knows how much they've contributed. The Zach Kovans and the Luke Mennes of the world have really contributed to this program more than a lot of people would know or see. I'am very proud of all 10 of them. They've been great to coach. We've got to give their parents a lot of credit. They've instilled a lot of wonderful qualities in these 10 young men, and they make my job easier."

How it Happened:
Friday's match ended as a battle of goalkeepers, as Spartan net-minder Hague made six saves, while Wildcat keeper Miha Miskovic made six saves, many of them of diving, while there was one team save.

Hague's clean sheet was his seventh save of the season and 25th shutout of his career, as he is No. 2 on MSU's career shutouts list. Miskovic leads the with eight shutouts.

Michigan State peppered the Northwestern goal in the first half, but were unable to find the net, with junior midfielder Michael Pimlott firing a shot just high in the 19th minute, followed by a shot in the 23rd minute from freshman forward Farai Mutatu that went just wide.

In the 33rd minute, Jones had a header off a free kick from junior midfielder Giuseppe Barone, but it was saved by Miskovic, keeping the match scoreless, which it remained heading into half. MSU had a 10-1 shots advantage, with each goalie making one save.

The second half was much like the first, with the Spartans applying continued pressure, but were turned away by the Wildcat defense, mainly Miskovic, who made two saves in the second half. Hague was equally solid, making four saves, as the match stayed 0-0 to the end of regulation, sending action into overtime.

Michigan State bolted out of the gate with junior defender Michael Wetungu getting off a close-range shot that was blocked and cleared away. The Spartans were denied of a goal in the 96th minute as Sweatte fired nice cross into box and Jones got a head on the cross and headed it toward goal, but Miskovic made a diving save keeping the match scoreless.

As the rain and temperatures dropped rapidly to open the second extra stanza, MSU's pressure ramped up, getting five shots off. However, they were denied by Miskovic and the NU defense and the match ended in a scoreless draw.

What's Next:
Michigan State hosts No. 18 Michigan in the Battle for the Big Bear on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the home finale, before wrapping up regular-season action at No. 2 Indiana on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. Both matches will be nationally televised, with Tuesday's match vs. Michigan on Big Ten Network and next Sunday's match at Indiana on ESPNU.

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