- In a battle of two top-15 nationally ranked teams, No. 6 Michigan State men's soccer found the game's only goal, taking down No. 12 Western Michigan Wednesday at the WMU Soccer Complex. A record-setting crowd of over 3,400 were on hand to witness the matchup between the two in-state powerhouses.
"I want to thank the soccer community for their support, what an atmosphere at the complex today, they came out in huge numbers," said WMU head coach Chad Wiseman
. "I also want to thank MSU head coach Damon Rensing for committing to bring his Spartan team to Kalamazoo. Big atmospheres like today are great for our University, athletic department and community."
Western Michigan started off the game attacking and gaining a corner kick in the second minute of the contest. Tommy Clark
's service sailed into the box and found the head of junior defender Ben Thornton
. Thornton's shot rang down off the underside of the cross bar and the Bronco side thought they had an early 1-0 lead. No whistle was blown and Michigan State keeper Jimmy Hague jumped on the loose ball.
"I thought we scored a goal in the opening minutes, I still believe the officials got that wrong, it was over the line," Wiseman said.
Shots were limited in the first half with WMU taking just the one and Michigan taking just two.
With just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half WMU redshirt senior goalkeeper Drew Shepherd
came sliding hard off his line and was clipped by a MSU player. Shepherd would have to leave the game with an injury and did not return. WMU backup keeper Elijah Michaels
was called on to finish the remainder of the game. It was the first appearance of the year for Michaels, as Shepherd had played every minute of the season prior.
Michigan State broke the scoreless tie in the 51st minute as Ryan Sierakowski put a ball past Michaels for his third goal in two games after a run by Connor Corrigon.
Western Michigan had its looks to tie the game in the second half, however were unable to find an equalizer. MSU's keeper came up with a save on a free kick by Clark in the 53rd minute. In the 75th minute Jay McIntosh
had a backside shot go over the top. The Broncos had strong play in the 85th minute but Anthony Bowie
's shot also was off the mark.
WMU finished with seven shots in the second half. Michigan State was able to produce 12. Michaels came off his line for a save for WMU in the 77th minute.
"The game was a great college soccer match," Wiseman said. "Two teams left it all on the field. We created four or five good chances throughout the game. MSU is just so organized defensively, if were to get a result we have to turn one of those chances into a goal.
"I'm proud of the way we played today in front of many fans that maybe haven't seen us play. Michigan State is a talented team and well coached. We competed with them for 90 minutes.
"Western Michigan's record moves to 9-2-1 with the loss while the Spartans improved to 9-1-1.
The Broncos are back in action this Saturday, hosting Akron to begin Mid-American Conference play. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Prior to the match, WMU will host its Bronco Soccer Fest, a pre-game tailgate from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the practice field adjacent to the game field. Those wishing to participate in the Bronco Soccer Fest should pre-register at www.wmubroncos.com/soccerfest