Big Bear Trophy
Nov. 3, 2012
Site: U-M Soccer Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Score: Michigan 1, Michigan State 0
Records: U-M (8-8-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten), MSU (8-9-1, 3-3-0 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Wed-Sun., Nov. 7-11 -- at Big Ten Tournament (Evanston, Ill.)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Behind the lone goal from senior Kofi Opare (Niagara Falls, Ontario/St. Paul), the University of Michigan men's soccer team defeated in-state rival Michigan State, 1-0, Saturday night (Nov. 3) in the team's final home game of the season at U-M Soccer Stadium.
Junior/sophomore Adam Grinwis (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills) made five saves in his fourth shutout of the year. Opare's goal was a headed effort in the 70th minute off of a corner from junior Fabio Pereira (Sao Paolo, Brazil/South Kent [Conn.]). U-M claims the Big Bear trophy for the second time in three years, and for the fourth time in program history.
U-M will face the winner of tomorrow's Wisconsin at Ohio State match in Columbus in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament this week in Evanston, Ill. The Wolverines have now won three straight games and four of the last five.
With both teams fighting for position in the Big Ten standings with the Big Ten Tournament looming, Michigan controlled the first half, outshooting Michigan State by a 7-2 margin. The Wolverines had a couple of great chances early on. Following a good ball from junior Ezekiel Harris (Flint, Mich./Carman-Ainsworth), Pereira nearly opened the scoring in sixth minute, but his attempt found the post. U-M created another good chance when freshman James Murphy (Oxford, England/Henry Box School) cut inside the box only to have his shot blocked by a Spartan defender in the 11th minute.
One of Michigan State's best opportunities came in the first, but a handball thwarted a potentially dangerous Spartan break. In the 38th minute, Grinwis was caught off his line but Michigan State's Jay Chapman fired just high and wide from long range. Just before the end of the first, U-M thought again they had gone ahead when sophomore Tyler Arnone (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) put home a pass from junior Malcolm Miller (Lawrenceville, Ga./Collins Hill), but offsides was called by the line referee on the near sideline.
Michigan was statistically the better team in the first, tallying four corners compared to none for MSU in addition to the disparity in shots. The Spartans elevated their play in the second, however, outshooting the Wolverines 7-6, pressing late in the match on offense needing a win to secure the Big Ten Regular Season title.
Michigan State came out firing early in the second. In the 49th minute, MSU's Adam Montague hit a cross that was deflected onto the bar and out by Grinwis. In the 51st minute, Jay Chapman had a good look at goal for MSU just outside the box, but he could not convert following a long throw-in that was headed away by a U-M defender.
Michigan threatened once again just minutes later, as junior Dylan Mencia (Honesdale, Pa./Scranton Prep) found junior T.J. Roehn (Tampa, Fla./South Florida) with a cross in the box, but Roehn's headed effort slid just wide of the post.
Both teams traded shots in the middle of the second before Opare's third goal of the season gave the Wolverines a lead they would not relinquish. Pereira's curled in a corner that found Opare near the back post and the senior defender was able to beat his man as he headed the ball downward, right in between the diving Spartan goalkeeper and defender manning the post. Pereira recorded his team-leading 6th assist and he now has sole possession of the team lead with 12 points.
Michigan State pressed the Michigan back line over the last few minutes, but was unable to create a breakthrough. Grinwis made five saves for U-M, as he recorded his second shutout in the last three games. Michigan finished the season with an impressive home record of 7-3-1, winning each its last three.
The Wolverines will enter the Big Ten tournament as the number three seed and will play the sixth seed, which will be the winner of tomorrow's Wisconsin at Ohio State matchup, which is at 1 p.m. in Columbus.
Scoring, Time (Assist)
1st -- Michigan, Kofi Opare, 69:49 (Fabio Pereira)
Shots: U-M 13, Michigan State 9
Shots on Goal: Michigan 3, Michigan State 5
Saves: U-M 5 (Adam Grinwis), Michigan State 2 (Zach Bennett)
Corner Kicks: U-M 8, Michigan State 2
Cards: U-M, Kofi Opare, 53:49 (Yellow); MSU, Adam Montague, 83:59 (Yellow); MSU, Tim Kreutz, 87:55 (Yellow).