Michigan State Opens 2020 With a win over ECU

The #12 Michigan State Spartans dominated the East Carolina Pirates from wire to wire Saturday on the campus of Liberty University to open their 2020 season. Seniors Keegan Wells and Bennett Osterink both contributed hat tricks to pace the offense. Senior Jackson White contributed 10 saves in goal, senior Long Stick Midfielder Ian Genord scooped up 6 ground balls and the unit as a whole killed off all 8 man-down opportunities to lead the Spartans. The Spartans also controlled the faceoff x. Junior Brendan Battelon won 8 of 10 draws he took and senior Corey Jaeger controlled 8 of 11.

Senior Keaton Mitchell opened up the scoring in the first and then immediately followed that up with an assist to Wells. Senior attackmen Jake DesRosiers and Osterink each added a goal in the first. Genord rounded out the first quarter scoring with a fast break tally.  The Spartan defense limited the pirates to a single goal in the first quarter to take a 5-1 lead. 

The Pirates slowed the Spartans only a bit in the second adding their second and final goal of the game in the quarter. Wells added his second and assisted on two goals to Osterink who completed his hat trick in the first half. MSU took a solid 8-2 lead into the intermission. 

Senior Nick Bowman opened up the second half scoring with two goals in the third. The Spartans second midfield line took control adding two goals by junior Demetre crews with redshirt freshman Carson Greene assisting on one. Greene also assisted sophomore Davis Bruneau on his first goal of the year. The Spartans held ECU scoreless in the quarter. 

In the fourth the Spartan reserves shined. Junior midfielder Ethan Kowert and freshman Jon Bickford each had unassisted goals. The defense, in front of sophomore goalie Connor Modd, kept the second half shutout going. Modd tallied 6 saves with no goals allowed in the 4th.  

Genord’s 6 ground balls paced the Spartans on the day.  Redshirt Junior Michael Burwell added 4 of his own.  The first close defensive unit of CJ Deal (3), Will Peterson (3) and Will Pankratz (2) also contributed to the Spartan’s ground ball efforts.

The Spartans next face the #6 ranked Liberty Flames on Sunday at noon.  The game is available on ESPN+.