Friday evening they stopped the Lipscomb Bisons 2-0 in the first round of the Michigan Invitational at the Michigan Soccer Complex in Ann Arbor. Sunday afternoon the Bisons close out the tournament with their second Big 10 Conference foe when they face No. 24-rated Michigan, the tournament host. Michigan beat Wright State 3-0 in the first round.
Michigan State is ranked No. 20 in the nation. The last time the Bisons had faced a nationally-ranked team was Sept. 11, 2008 when they fell 5-2 to Louisville, the No. 20 team at that time.
“We played poor first half,” said Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow. “I think we came out tentative. I think we might have given the name on the jersey a little too much respect.
“Michigan State was very athletic. In the first half we didn’t have enough confidence in our abilities. We didn’t adjust to their athleticism as well as we would have liked to in the first half.”
Michigan State scored both of its goals in the first half. Spencer Thompson headed a shot at 19:43. Jeff Ricondo, who assisted on Thompson’s goal, scored at 21:05. His goal was unassisted.
Brent McGee was in goal for the Bisons. Michigan State had 10 shots, five shots on goal. McGee made three saves.
“They capitalized on a couple of opportunities,” said Morrow. “There was a 10-minute spell in the first half when we were just awful.
"It was sort of back and forth in the first half. It was just disappointing to play so well in the second and give the game away in the first half like we did. “
The Bisons were credited with 16 shots, including four shots on goal. Forward Miguel DaSilva led the Bisons with seven shots, two shots on goal.
“It was good to see Miguel get more involved,” said Morrow. “He is a work in progress and he gets better and better each game and more involved each game. We are definitely seeing improvement.”
Michigan State goalkeeper Avery Steinlage kept his NCAA shutout streak intact. He has not allowed a goal in a game since Oct. 15, 2008. This was his ninth complete game shutout since that time.
“They defended well in the second and we gave them all they wanted in the second half,” said Morrow. “We didn’t get great opportunities on goal, but we certainly had some chances in close that we could have converted.
“In the second half they were putting numbers behind the ball. There wasn’t an urgency for them to move forward. As well as we played in terms of possession we didn’t get forward fast enough. We let them get numbers back and let them defend. And we didn’t finish off the opportunities that we had.”
The Bisons suffered their first loss of the season dropping to 2-1-1. Michigan State is 2-0-1.
“We are not into moral victories at all,” said Morrow. “We don’t feel good about the game. But we can use this game as a learning experience.
“Michigan is a much more dangerous team going forward than Michigan State. We are going to have our hands full. We are going to have to put forward a full game with great effort.”