Sept. 8, 2011
Michigan State, which has fallen out of the latest NSCAA poll, returns home to host a pair of games this weekend at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans have a busy week ahead, with home games Friday against Georgetown (5 p.m.) and a home game against Marshall (2:30 p.m.) on Sunday. Fans in attendance both days will be treated to a doubleheader, as the Spartan women's team hosts Bowling Green on Friday (2:30 p.m.) and UC-Santa Barbara at noon on Sunday.
State of the Spartans
The Michigan State men's soccer team got their first win of the season last Sunday at New Hampshire, as senior Rubin Bega had a goal and an assist to pace the Spartans to a 3-0 victory over the Wildcats. Senior keeper Jeremy Clark made two saves for his first career shutout.
The Spartans dominated in shots (18-2), and also had the edge in shots on goal (6-2) and corner kicks (4-3). After some physical games in their first two contests, MSU had just four fouls to UNH's six, and no cards were issued in the contest. By contrast, the game against No. 5 UConn last Thursday featured a combined 29 fouls and four yellow cards.
MSU took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals two and a half minutes apart in the opening frame. Senior Cyrus Saydee passed to Garrett Back in the box, and he headed it into the right side for his first career tally. Minutes later, Bega got his second goal of the season, finishing off a Josh Barens to-Adam Montague sequence once Montague found Bega on the left side. Bega set up teammate Joe Paljaj at the 79-minute mark for Paljaj's first career marker. Bega crossed it to Paljaj on the left side, and his shot found its mark.
The Goods on Georgetown
MSU hosts Georgetown on Friday afternoon. The teams met last season in the Nation's capital, with the Hoyas taking a 4-0 decision. Georgetown is 2-1 on the season, opening the year with a tough loss to No. 16 Virginia Commonwealth. The Hoyas went 2-0 last weekend on their home field: Georgetown defeated Radford, 2-0, on Friday and then downed Stanford on Sunday, 1-0, in double overtime.
For his efforts last week, sophomore forward Steve Neumann earned a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week and was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll. Neumann had all three goals in Georgetown's sweep last weekend. Against Radford, his goals were just one minute and 19 seconds apart helping the Blue & Gray to its first win of the season. On Sunday, he added a third marker to his weekend in overtime to defeat Stanford. Neumann has now scored all three goals for Georgetown so far this season.
Sizing up the Thundering Herd
Marshall will serve as the Sunday opponent for MSU at DeMartin Stadium. The Thundering Herd will play a Friday game against also-winless Michigan (0-4) before Sunday's showdown in East Lansing. Marshall enters Friday's contest against the Wolverines with an 0-3 record and a score-sheet that remains blank following the Herd's inability to score through its first three matches - losses to Wright State, Xavier, and Eastern Tennessee, by a combined 4-0 score.
Bob Gray returns 18 letterwinners from his 9-5-4 team a year ago, including leading goal scorers Carl Munday and Jordan Hilgefort. Tom Jackson is the team's top returner in both assists (5) and points (11)/
Bega's Big Week, and More.
Rubin Bega had a hand in three of MSU's four goals scored in its east coast swing last weekend, and leads the MSU scoring attack with a pair of goals and an assist. Both Garrett Back and Joe Paljaj scored their first collegiate tallies at New Hampshire. Senior co-captain Jeremy Clark picked up his first career shutout against the Wildcats.
Michigan State was ranked 19th in the NSCAA preseason poll, coming off a 2010 season in which it went 13-7-4. The Spartans fell into the category of "receiving votes" in the first weekly poll, after the season-opening loss to Detroit. MSU dropped a hard-fought game to then-No. 5 Connecticut (2-1) last Friday before rebounding with the convincing victory over New Hampshire last Sunday.
MSU men's soccer team was tabbed fifth in the pre-season conference polls, as announced by the Big Ten Conference office on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Indiana was selected as the favorite, and Ohio State checks in at No. 2 in the poll matching their finish from a year ago. Penn State follows at No. 3, jumping up a spot from last year's fourth place campaign. Michigan, after winning its first Big Ten Tournament title and advancing to last year's NCAA College Cup semifinals, clocks in at No. 4. Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin round out the poll. The Conference also announced it's list of Players to Watch, and the three MSU players are seniors Rubin Bega and Cyrus Saydee, and a returning all-Big Ten selection, junior Kevin Cope.
The Big Ten Network will air 10 men's soccer games this fall, and of the nine that have been announced, three will feature Michigan State in Big Ten Conference matchups at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans host Ohio State on Sunday, Oct. 2 at noon, which will be the second game of the men's soccer package on the Network. The Spartans will host Penn State a week later, also a noon game, and then will tangle with Michigan on Sunday, Oct. 30 in a battle for the Big Bear Trophy.