Nov. 12, 2004
Michigan State Defeats Indiana 2-1 to Advance to Tournament Final
Spartans make first title game appearance since 2001
ANN ARBOR, MICIGAN - Ryan McMahen scored two goals to lead the fifth seeded Michigan State Spartans to a 2-1 victory over the third seeded Indiana Hoosiers in the first semifinal game of the 2004 Big Ten Conference Men's Soccer Tournament here on Friday (Nov. 12).
Michigan State now awaits the winner of Friday's second semifinal match between Northwestern and Michigan and picks up their 11th win against six losses and one tie this season. Indiana drops to 14-4-1 on the season and will most likely receive an at-large berth in this year's NCAA Tournament, which starts next Friday (Nov. 19).
In the two squads regular season match-up, Indiana defeated Michigan State 3-1 on the shoulders of sophomore forward Jacob Peterson who recorded three goals to propel Indiana to the win. Today, it was a Spartan who carried his team to the school's first victory in 33 chances over Indiana. Overall, the Spartans are now 33-1-1 all-time versus the Hoosiers.
Michigan State makes their first appearance in the tournament finale since 2001 when they lost to the Hoosiers in the championship game at Madison, Wisconsin. It is the Spartans second appearance on Sunday of the tournament, where they are 0-2 all-time.
Indiana was looking for their second consecutive and 10th overall appearance in the tournament finale. The Hoosiers were tournament champions in 2003 after they defeated Penn State 4-1 in penalty kicks for the victory. Indiana would go on to win the national championship for the sixth time in school history.
In the Spartans opening round defeat of Wisconsin, Michigan State found the net first in the opening half when junior midfielder Ryan McMahen fed midfielder Steve Doster for the only tally of the match. McMahen got MSU rolling first again in Friday's match, scoring the first goal of the match.
With 16:53 off the clock Michigan State was given a restart off a Hoosier foul. McMahen took the kick from just past the top of the box and hooked a shot off the right inside of the left post for the goal. The goal was McMahen's sixth of the season and gave the junior 21 points for the season. More importantly, it gave the Spartans a 1-0 advantage over the defending conference champions. Additionally, in all of Indiana's matches this season the first team to score has won the match, a stat in the Spartans favor.
But, for Michigan State to win they would need more than the one goal. That's because with 31:10 off the scoreboard Pat Yates scored to tie the game at 1-1. Junior forward Mike Ambersley brought the ball into the goalie box where he dumped it off to the junior midfielder Yates for the tying goal. The assist was Ambersley's fifth of the season on Yates third goal of the year.
Both teams had scoring opportunities throughout the first half with each team getting off a number of shots. Michigan State tallied three shots overall while Indiana had seven, but still neither team was able to break the tie, sending the match into halftime knotted at one.
In the second half, the Spartans once again struck first. With 25:48 gone in the second stanza Spartan's senior forward Jordan Gruber set up McMahen in front of the net. The junior found the top left corner of the net for his second goal of the day to put MSU up 2-1. The goal gives McMahon seven for the season and five points for the tournament.
With13:22 remaining on the clock in regulation Indiana was close to tying the game up when they let off a shot that required Spartan goalie Jason Tillman to make a leaping save, sending the ball over the crossbar to preserve the lead for MSU. A sophomore, Tillman logged five saves in the game for Michigan State. While Indiana kept attacking the net, time simply ran out on the Hoosiers, as MSU claimed a 2-1 semifinal win.
Sunday's (Nov. 14) championship game featuring the Spartans and either Northwestern or Michigan will kick off at 2:30 pm ET at Varsity Field on the campus of the University of Michigan and will be televised by CSTV on tape delay.