EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Western Michigan men’s soccer team improved to 4-2 on the 2019 campaign, following a 1-0 road victory over Big Ten opponent Michigan State on Friday evening. This marks the third time the Broncos have defeated the Spartans in men’s soccer, and the first time since Oct. 10, 1993, which also took place in East Lansing. The last win for the Broncos against a Big Ten opponent came on Sept. 20, 2017 against Michigan in front of 2,317 fans at the WMU Soccer Complex.
“What a performance the men had tonight,” said head coach Chad Wiseman. “Bronco nation showed up to East Lansing in big numbers to witness it and we are very thankful for their support. We have a lot of respect for Michigan State and what they have accomplished, including a final four appearance last year. We know we beat a top program today.”
In the first half, Western Michigan came out focused, generating 11 total shots while holding Michigan State to only four.
“I thought we were very good defensively,” Wiseman said. “We gave them very few dangerous chances and showed some big time toughness.”
In the 32nd minute, the Broncos were rewarded for their effort, with freshman midfielder Charlie Sharp tucking the ball under the right crossbar to put his team up 1-0 with his second goal of the season. The eventual game winning strike was assisted by freshman Max Keenan, who has now recorded four assists in his last three matches to surpass Brennan Creek for the team lead in that category.
“What a goal by Charlie,” Wiseman remarked. “That is a freshman making the most of an opportunity and taking his moment.”
Western Michigan peppered Spartan goalkeeper Hunter Morse with 13 shots on goal, with Sharp and sophomore transfer Eric Conerty combining for seven of them. On defense, the Broncos were stellar, holding Michigan State to only two attempts on net.
“Our game plan was to out chance them on the night and we certainly did that,” said Wiseman. “We made their goalkeeper make 12 saves and several of those were big time saves as well.”
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Isaac Walker earned his second complete-game shutout of the season, with his first coming against Niagara earlier this month.
“There is no doubt that many Bronco alumni are smiling tonight and they should be,” Wiseman added. “We have been on the wrong end of the result against the Spartans many times, but tonight, the Bronco reigns.”
Western Michigan will have a quick turnaround, as it is set to face #2 nationally ranked Virginia in Charlottesville on Monday.