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Nov. 9, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - After 90 minutes of rough-and-tumble play, Penn State men's soccer dropped a 3-1 decision to Michigan State Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. The fifth-seeded Spartans (10-9-1, 3-3-0 B1G) continued their run in the tournament after bouncing No. 4 seed Indiana Wednesday and the top-seeded Nittany Lions (9-5-3, 3-1-2 B1G), who earned a first-round bye after sharing the regular-season conference crown with Northwestern.
Penn State now waits until Monday to hear if they will receive a bid in the NCAA tournament. Michigan State will face the winner of the match between Michigan and Northwestern Sunday in the tournament title game.
In what started as a defensive showdown, the game quickly turned to offensive firepower early in the second half. The Spartans took the lead out of the gate in the second frame as Sean Conerty sent in a cross from right of the goal, where Cody Henderson was able to send the loose ball in the left corner of the net for the unassisted tally. Michigan State increased the lead in the 54th minute as Fatai Alashe snuck through the middle of the defense before looking left to Adam Montague, who put home the second MSU goal of the day.
The clubs exchanged goals as time wound down in the final five minutes. The Spartans added a third goal in the 86th minute from Jay Chapman before Minh Vu (Tuscon, Ariz.) responded for the Nittany Lions' lone score of the day in the 88th minute. Vu, the Offensive MVP of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, found the back of the net on a shot from seven yards out following Daniel Burnham's (Boise, Idaho) cross from right of the 18-yard box. The goal was the second for Vu this season.
The clash was an aggressive one for both teams as they posted a combined 19 fouls in the first 45 minutes and finished the day with 38 calls. The Spartans finished with a 12-7 shot advantage, including a 4-3 lead in chances on goal. Penn State goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.) finished with a save in the effort.