Sept. 2, 2010
The Michigan State men's soccer team gets its 2010 season underway with a trip to the Nation's capital. The 24th-ranked Spartans will play at No. 6 Maryland on Friday evening (7:30 p.m.), then will play at Georgetown on Sunday afternoon.
Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State has plenty of reason for optimism in 2010 - the Spartans return 10 starters from last year's injury-riddled 11-8-2 campaign, and has plenty of veteran depth remaining from its 2008 Big Ten title team. Senior keeper Avery Steinlage is a pre-season Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate, and set the NCAA record for consecutive shutout minutes a year ago. Rubin Bega is the team's top returning scorer (10-5-25), and the midfield boasts senior starters Nosa Iyoha and co-captains Jeff Ricondo and Spencer Thompson. Senior Colin Givens and sophomore Kevin Cope anchor a staunch defensive unit in front of Steinlage.
A Look at the Terps
Maryland, ranked sixth in the NSCAA pre-season poll, returns nine starters from 2009, including All-ACC honorees Jason Herrick and Zac MacMath. Maryland has five seniors and six juniors on its roster this season. Head coach Sasho Cirovski has guided the Terps to 15 of their 29 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances, which includes National Championships in 2005 and 2008.
Scouting the Hoyas
A core of 11 seniors will ssuit up for Georgetown coach Brian Wiese, who looks to improve on last year's 9-8-2 overall record. The Hoya's top returning scorer will be senior captain Jose Colchao, who had 4-5-13 in 19 games in 2009. In net, the Hoyas employ a "keeper by committee" approach, as senior co-captain Matthew Brutto and classmate Mark Wilber will once again split time. The pair has combined for 18 shutouts over the past two seasons.
Michigan State was piced 24th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. Soccer America puts MSU at No. 23, College Soccer News slots the Spartans at No. 19 and Top Drawer Soccer has MSU at No. 18.
The Spartan Staff
Michigan State head coach Damon Rensing enters his second season as head coach after serving as an assistant coach for 10 seasons at his alma mater. During his 11 years at Michigan State, Rensing has helped lead the Spartans to 2004 and 2008 Big Ten Tournament championships as well as the 2008 conference regular-season crown.
Rensing's assistants are Kylie Stannard (Creighton `01), former Spartan head coach Joe Baum (who led the Spartans for 32 seasons before announcing his retirement as the head coach) and Okemos native Bill Boyle, who played collegiately at Hartwick.
Big Ten Pundits
Michigan State was picked fifth in the Big Ten preseason poll of Conference coaches. Ohio State is selected as the conference favorite, followed by Indiana at No. 2 and Northwestern and Penn State tied for third place in the survey. Michigan and Wisconsin were picked sixth and seventh, respectively.
Players to Watch
The Big Ten announced its "Players to Watch" list last Saturday (Aug. 28). MSU's Players to Watch are Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate Avery Steinlage, along with senior classmates Spencer Thompson and Colin Givens.
Michigan State will make its home debut on Thursday, Sept. 9. The Spartans will host BIG EAST entry Providence at DeMartin Stadium at 5 p.m. MSU will also host Niagara on Sunday (2:30 p.m.) to wrap up a home weekend of action.