EAST LANSING – The Michigan State men's soccer team's second attempt at a season opener turned out to be much more fun than the first.
MSU's scheduled start to the season last Thursday against Loyola-Chicago was washed away and declared a no-contest when dangerous storms blew through mid-Michigan.
But on the second try on Monday night, with a packed DeMartin Field that included the raucous "Red Cedar Rowdies" student section, the Spartans sent their fans home happy with an emphatic 3-0 win over Bowling Green.
“I am just happy for the guys, they played really well,” MSU coach Damon Rensing said. “We talked about competing together tonight and they did a really good job of that. One of our focuses with a lot of new guys in the backline and in goal is that we want to get clean sheets. So we're very glad to be able to get a shutout.
"Overall, we played against a very good Bowling Green team. They have been in the NCAA tournament two of the last three years. They are a very spirited team, and they are really well coached. I have a lot of respect for them."
It was MSU's depth which provided a scoring spark, starting in the 31st minute with junior forward Efosa Emoyon, who just after being subbed into the game finished a loose ball on a corner kick off the head of sophomore defender Josh Mason for his first goal as a Spartan.
MSU then had the luxury of playing the second half with a man advantage, as BGSU's Anthony Hernandez was given a red card for a hard foul on MSU forward Richie Ludwig in the closing minutes of the first half.
The Spartans had a number of chances after the break, but took a bit of time to eventually find the second goal that gave them a little cushion. In the 81st minute, substitute sophomore and Okemos graduate Jack Guggemos beat two defenders down the sideline, setting himself for a breakaway. As the goalkeeper drew closer, Guggemos passed the ball off to fellow sophomore forward Jake Spadafora, who scored to double the Spartans' lead.
“(Guggemos) is my man, I’ve got chemistry with him," Spadafora said. "He was my roommate last year and I am very thankful for him and to score. It felt great to get out here, we came out here knowing we had something to prove and we did today.”
Freshman midfielder Colin Arce didn't see the field until the 76th minute Monday, but he made the most of his time. In the 85th minute, BGSU goalkeeper Brendan Graves punched away an MSU corner kick right to senior midfielder Jack Zugay, who ripped a shot that Arce deflected into the net for the Spartans' final goal.
"We know we have a lot of guys that can help us, and I thought we really started well in the second half," Rensing said. "That middle third of the game was teetering a bit, but then (Jack) Guggemos went out and made a play. He changed the game on that one individual moment. And then really good to see a rookie get his first goal in Arce."
Sophomore goalkeeper and Holt High graduate Zac Kelly made two saves, including a big one in the 29th minute, to preserve the clean sheet.
The Spartans are on the road for their next two contests — a Friday matchup with Army before traveling to Villanova next Monday. MSU will be back at home on Sept. 7 against Dayton.
Contact Nathaniel Bott at email@example.com and follow him on X @Nathaniel_Bott
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Michigan State men's soccer: Depth sparks 3-0 shutout of Bowling Green