Milwaukee Suffers Tough 2-1 Loss To Michigan State
Oct. 4, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Freshman goalkeeper Josh Rohde made 14 saves and senior Robert Refai tallied his fifth goal of the season, but it was not enough as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision to Michigan State University Tuesday at DeMartin Stadium.
The Panthers (5-6-0) tied the game at 1-1 in the 65th minute, only to see the Spartans (3-6-2) tally the game-winner in the 78th minute of the match and hold on from there.
"We weren't at our best in the first half, but Josh kept us in the game," UWM head coach Chris Whalley said. "In the second half, we came out and played a lot better. We gave up a silly goal early in the second half. I thought we were in the ascendancy in the second half, played well, passed the ball well, scored a good goal and felt like we were the team that would go on to win the game."
Rohde's 14 saves were the sixth-most in a game in program history and the second-most by a freshman in school history as well (John Fetzer, 24 in 1973).
"Josh has come in and he's gone 2-2 in his four games that he's played and he has done really well so far," Whalley said. "He made a couple of very good saves and kept us in the game. I am disappointed for him that the game went the way it did, because he deserved to get something out of this game the way he played."
Outshot, 27-to-9 on the day, Milwaukee looked to be in position to go ahead after turning the momentum on Refai's goal. Sophomore James Ashcroft started the scoring play, sending a long kick to freshman Nick Langford, who flicked it to Refai well outside of the penalty area. He created the goal himself, taking several touches to get around the final defender and sending the 15-yard shot to the far post, sneaking in at the 64:56 mark.
"Robert came in and was lively off the bench," Whalley said. "He gave us some pace and took his goal really well. And it's great that he has scored five goals already this season."
The game-winner came on a strange play. A long ball was played over the back line of UWM defense but the flag did not go up. Rohde came off his line to challenge and the ball appeared to deflect off Adam Montague's arm and carom forward, allowing him to walk the game-winning goal into the net by himself at the 77:49 mark
Milwaukee pushed forward the final 12 minutes and did create a final opportunity in the 87th minute when junior Cody Banks found freshman Gerardo Saavedra at the top of the box. His serve found the head of senior Keegan Ziada, but his 10-yard attempt was saved nicely by MSU's Jeremy Clark to preserve the victory.
The story of the first half was the amazing play of Rohde in goal. His first impressive stop came on a cracking attempt by Rubin Bega from inside the penalty area with just under 25 minutes to play in the first.
In the 25th minute, he was able to push Garret Back's attempt just wide at the post after being blocked by the defense until the last second. He also made a nice stop at the near post on a shot off a long ball before an amazing series of stops with just under 14 minutes to play.
First, he left his line and deflected a shot wide of the goal off the foot of the MSU striker. Then, on the proceeding corner, made a reactionary save on a 10-yard header that looked like a goal, knocking it over the cross bar with one hand. Not to be outdone, he made a close-range stop at the post on a shot by Joe Paljaj and then, following another corner, somehow got a hand on a shot from Mark Barone that he followed up with after hitting the cross bar on his first attempt.
The four saves came in a span of just 70 seconds and were the main reason the match was scoreless at intermission.
For the game, Michigan State had the decided advantage in shots at 27-to-9, which included a 16-to-6 edge in shots on goal. The Spartans also had five of the six corner kicks in the contest, with Milwaukee getting whistled for 16 of the 23 fouls and receiving both yellow cards. Langford, Refai and sophomore Kevin Ferron each had two shots to lead Milwaukee, with Back ending with a game-high eight shots for MSU.
Up next is a return trip to the state of Michigan, taking on the University of Detroit Saturday in a game set to start at 11 a.m. CST.