EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Amid 20 degree temperatures and 11 mph winds, 11th-seeded Michigan State kept its season alive in dramatic fashion, scoring late into double overtime to advance past Louisville 1-0 in the NCAA tournament second round on Sunday. Junior Tim Kreutz’ header 6:29 into the second OT advanced the Spartans (13-5-3).
After a balanced afternoon of attacks for both squads, it was a possession off a free kick that ended the game. Off a Louisville foul at midfield, senior Kevin Cope lofted a free kick into the box, where classmate Adam Montague flicked the ball up to Kreutz, who knocked it past the keeper inside the left post. It was the ninth goal and fourth game-winner of the season for Kreutz.
Michigan State advances to the third round for the second time in the last four seasons.
The No. 17 Cardinals ended their season with an 11-5-4 record.
The Spartans outshot the Cardinals, 8-3 in the first half, but it was Louisville that had the most chances early on. They earned a dangerous shot off a deflection that was picked up by Zach Bennett in goal.
As both teams shared possession of the ball, Kyle Rutz stepped up for the MSU offense with a target on net that forced the Louisville keeper to jump up for the save.
With the Cardinals driving down the field, Ryan Keener charged to break away what would have been Louisville’s best chance yet and forced a corner kick that was quickly picked up by Bennett out of the goal.
Both teams kicked off the second half adding pressure on either sides of the pitch. As Louisville charged down the field into MSU territory, Kevin Cope beat the attacker at top of the key to keep him out of the box.
Ryan Thelen took MSU’s first corner kick of the day with almost 30 minutes left in regulation that was bounced around in the box before he was able to send a target on the net forcing Louisville to make a diving save.
Louisville’s leading scorer Ricardo Velazco turned it up in the second half, sending an onslaught of shots at the MSU net, but Bennett continued to keep out any chance the Cardinals had at goal.
With just under 20 minutes left in the game, a cross from Thelen set up the most dangerous opportunity for the Spartans in the Louisville box as Brent McIntosh sent a sure target in the net that was just barely saved by the Cardinals’ keeper.
The Spartans created another chance as McIntosh connected with Rutz for a goal that was sent into the net, but the goal was kept off the board as Rutz was called for offsides.
Louisville quickly answered as Velazco sent in his sixth shot on the day, followed by another Cardinal target, but both were met by Bennett’s hands to stay out of the net. With the clock winding down, the match remained scoreless at the end of regulation.
MSU came out aggressive to begin the first overtime period, maintaining strong possession of the ball. Multiple Louisville fouls set up strong restarts for the Spartans, but Michigan State was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and the game was sent into a second overtime period.
Though Michigan State continued to hold onto solid ball movement, Louisville added pressure in the second overtime by putting numbers forward. Driving down the field, a Cardinal attacker got a clean shot on goal, but sent it just wide of the net with under five minutes remaining. Velazco followed with another wide shot less than a minute later. In the Spartans seventh double-overtime game of the year, Kreutz sent in the game-winner 107th minute to advance MSU to the third round of the NCAA tournament.