Spartans crowned national champs

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM

Grand Haven High School graduate Alex Krug helped guide the Michigan State University club soccer team to a national championship last week.

The MSU club team began its road to the national title with a 1-0 win over Cincinnati in the regional tournament. The team then lost in the regional semifinals to Illinois in a penalty kick shootout, but had already secured a bid to the national tournament.

At the national tourney in Memphis, Tenn., MSU opened up against Colorado School of Mining. Despite carrying the play for much of the game, MSU was unable to find the net until Holland’s Ryan Jacobs was taken down in the penalty box late in the first half. Matt Kaminski of Saline scored on the PK for an early lead.

MSU went on to score a 3-0 victory, setting up a showdown against LSU. In that contest, Michigan State scored two goals in the opening five minutes and raced to a 4-0 win.

That clinched first place in their group for the Spartans, who advanced to take on Georgia in the round of 16. MSU won on penalty kicks, advancing to the quarters.

There, the Spartans faced Illinois, and scored a 1-0 win on a late own-goal by Illinois.

In the Final Four, State took on the Cinderella team in the tournament, Washington University (St. Louis). MSU put three goals in the net in the second half, advancing to the national championship.

Standing in their way was defending national champion Weber State. Before competing in that game, the MSU men watched the MSU women’s club team win their own national championship with a 2-1 victory over UC Santa Barbara.

Against Weber State, the Spartans couldn’t find the back of the net during regulation or overtime, sending the game to a penalty kick shootout.

Kaminski, Tanner Higgins, Adam Kundinger and Max Washko each converted on their PK’s while goalie Ryan Lovell made two saves to give the Spartans the pulse-pounding victory.

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