Michigan State’s John Freitag scored the clinching goal in the 93rd minute to lift the Spartans to a 2-1 overtime victory against the No. 4 University of Louisville men’s soccer team in Sunday night’s NCAA Championship second round match at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
The Cardinals ended their season with an 11-5-3 record overall after Sunday’s loss, while MSU (12-4-4) advanced to a third round tilt at No. 13 Georgetown next weekend. Despite the early exit in the NCAA Championship, the 2018 season was a successful one for Louisville, highlighted by the program’s first ACC Championship title.
After Louisville pushed the match into overtime with the equalizing goal in the 78th minute, Michigan State delivered the game-winner just 2:18 into extra time as Freitag completed a corner kick chance with his third goal of the season. The ball was delivered into the box from the left corner and the Cardinals missed on a pair of chances to clear the ball before Freitag scored inside the left post for the clincher.
“It’s a tough way to end the season, especially in overtime. Traditionally, if you look back the last couple of years at our games in the NCAA tournament second round, they’ve been some of our toughest games,” said Cardinals head coach Ken Lolla. “Michigan State’s a tough team. We knew coming in that they were going to be a tough team to break down. Unfortunately, we gave them an opportunity in the first half to counter and then had to scratch our way back. I think our guys did a really good job of that and unfortunately, on a restart, didn’t handle the first ball very well and they got a second chance and took advantage of it.”
The Spartans opened the scoring on Sunday after Jack Beck connected from 14 yards for a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Ryan Sierakowski earned his fifth assist of the season after making a run up the right side before finding Beck with a pass across the pitch. Beck finished inside the far right post for his third goal of the season.
MSU took that lead into halftime and maintained it for much of the second half before the Cardinals evened the score at 1-1 on the second goal of the season for Haji Abdikadir. The scoring chance started on a corner kick from Ziyad Fekri, who sent the ball into the middle of the box. Lamine Conte put a foot on the ball and directed toward the end line, where Abdikadir slide in and popped the ball into the goal. The goal went to a video review after it appeared a Louisville player touched the ball with his hand, but officials ruled the contact occurred after the ball had crossed the goal line.
Both sides had chances in the final 10 minutes of regulation but neither could connect before reaching 90 minutes. In overtime, the goal by Freitag proved to be the only shot for either side. Louisville had a 10-7 edge in shots, including a 5-3 margin on goal. The Cardinals also had four of the six corner kicks in the match.
Michigan State moved to 3-1-1 all-time against Louisville with the victory. The Cardinals dropped to 14-10-2 all-time in the NCAA Championship, including 12-5-2 at home.
Sunday’s result closed the collegiate careers for seniors Geoffrey Dee, Tate Schmitt, Adam Wilson and Watterson Young. Schmitt departs Louisville ranking fourth in school history in career points with 69 and sixth in career goals with 26. He totaled 11 game-winning goals, including four in the NCAA Championship.