EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 6 Michigan State men’s soccer will begin a very busy week at home on Wednesday, Sept. 13, hosting No. 19 Bowling Green under the lights of DeMartin Stadium at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on BTN Plus. The Spartans will conclude the week with the annual battle for the Big Bear Trophy against No. 18 Michigan on BTN.
MSU Notes vs. BGSU
The No. 6 ranking is MSU’s highest since being ranked No. 9 to start the beginning of the 2015 season.
The Spartans improved to 5-0-0 this season with a win against Rutgers on Friday, Sept. 8, 2-1, on the road. Michigan State captured its Big Ten opener for the second-straight season.
If available, live video and live stats links will be at www.msuspartans.com.
SCOUTING REPORT: BOWLING GREEN
Like the Spartans, No. 19 Bowling Green has started the season 5-0-0. The Falcons have been stellar this season with goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia and the BGSU backline not allowing a goal this season.
Offensively, Bowling Green is led by Chris Brennan, who has two goals and four assists for eight points. Moe Mustafa is second in scoring with a team-leading three goals and one assists for seven points. Mwembia already has five shutouts in net this season in 450 minutes of action.
MSU leads the series with Bowling Green 22-16-6. MSU is 11-6-3 at home against the Falcons. In a series that has featured some historic battles, MSU has won the last four meetings, winning three by matching 1-0 scores. Last season at home, junior forward Ryan Sierakowski lifted MSU to the 1-0 win with a goal in the 63rd minute.
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE
Both Michigan State and Bowling Green have started out the season with perfect 5-0-0 records. The Spartans and the Falcons are one nine teams in the NCAA without a loss or a tie this season. Only Pacific and Omaha have more wins, as both teams stand 6-0-0.
In five games this season, the Spartans are 4-0 in games decided by one goal. Michigan State has won three 1-0 games and defeated Rutgers, 2-1, last week. Last season, the Spartans were an exceptional 10-3 in one-goal games, including four wins in 1-0 decisions.
BIG TIME, BIG TEN
After five-straight wins, Michigan State moved up to No. 6. In the United Soccer Coaches Poll, MSU remained No. 13. This week, there are three Big Ten teams ranked in the top 10 with Indiana taking the top spot after tying with Maryland last week. Maryland is currently No. 3. Future opponent Notre Dame is No. 2 this week. Bowling Green is currently No. 19, while Michigan stands No. 18. Western Michigan yet another MSU opponent clocks in at No. 24.
In the latest, College Soccer News poll, MSU has risen to No. 9 from No. 11. Finally, the Spartans are No. 11 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll from No. 17.
For the first time since 1968, Michigan State started the season with four-straight shutouts. During that season, the Spartans went on to start the season with seven-straight clean sheets. During the 1968 season, MSU won the second of two-straight Co-NCAA Championships under head coach Gene Kenney. Former head coach Joe Baum was a player on that 1968 squad. Michigan State allowed its first goal of the season on a penalty kick against Rutgers on Sept. 8. The Spartans have not allowed a goal in the run of play yet this season.
LAST MAN STANDING
The Spartans are one of only seven Division I teams that have won every game this season, along with Farleigh Dickinson, Bowling Green, Furman, Notre Dame, Pacific and Brown. MSU and Bowling Green will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 13 in East Lansing. Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague is third in the nation in shutouts with four, while fourth in save percentage (.950).
LOOKING AT THE LEAGUE
Michigan State is the only team in the Big Ten without a loss or a tie this season. The Spartans are 5-0-0 this season, while No. 1 Indiana (4-0-1), No. 3 Maryland (4-0-1) and No. 18 Michigan (4-0-1) have no losses this season.
Junior forward DeJuan Jones is tied for first in the B1G in goals with three and first in the league in points with seven. Sophomore defender Michael Pimlott is also tied for first in assists in the Big Ten with three.
MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
• In the first five games, five different Spartans have scored a goal. Overall, eight different players have registered a point. Junior forward DeJuan Jones leads the team in scoring with three goal and one assist for seven. Sophomore defender Michael Pimlott adding is second in scoring with three assists for three points. Five MSU players have registered two points.
• In the first five games of the season, MSU has used only one starting lineup. Four different Spartans have played all 360 minutes in goalkeeper Jimmy Hague, defenders Jimmy Fiscus and Michael Wetungu and midfielder John Freitag.
• Michigan State men’s soccer team was voted fourth in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll, the conference. Seniors Jimmy Fiscus and Ken Krolicki, along with junior Ryan Sierakowski were also named to the Big Ten Preseason honors list.
• During its 2017 campaign, Michigan State will take on six teams that advanced to the 2016 NCAA Tournament during its 17-game regular-season schedule, including four teams that finished in the NCAA RPI Top 25 and five teams that finished in the NSCAA Top 25. The Spartans challenging schedule also includes seven teams with 10 or more wins in 2015.
JONES NAMED B1G OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Michigan State junior DeJuan Jones was honored on Tuesday as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Jones, a junior forward from Lansing, Michigan, earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring two goals in MSU’s win against Rutgers in its Big Ten opener on September 8. This is the second award for Jones who also was honored by the league on Oct. 11, 2016. Jones scored twice in the second half to lead the Spartans to a 2-1 win. He currently leads the team in scoring with three goals and one assist for seven points.
Jones was also named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his offensive efforts.
SIERAKOWSKI NAMED TO HERMANN WATCH LIST
Michigan State men’s soccer junior forward Ryan Sierakowski was named to the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer and is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year.
Sierakowski, a native of McHenry, Illinois, is the first Michigan State men’s soccer player named to the Hermann Watch List since goalkeeper Avery Steinlage in 2010. In 2014, midfielder Jay Chapman was named a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy, becoming the first Spartan in school history to achieve the feat.
Sierakowski is one of four players from the Big Ten on the watch list along with Maryland’s Gordon Wild, Indiana’s Grant Lillard and Wisconsin’s Chris Mueller. A total of 31 players were named to the watch list.
ON THE STARTING THIS WEEK’S GAMES
“Bowling Green is No. 19 in the country, and they haven’t conceded a goal all year, so they have us beat a little bit there. They will come in excited as the MAC teams always do. After that game, we have to just put it behind us and prepare for the battle of the Big Bear Trophy against Michigan in Ann Arbor. It is great to have to have two ranked teams this week.”
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
This season, the Spartans have three captains in senior Jimmy Fiscus, Brad Centala and Ryan Scott.
Sophomore Giuseppe Barone became the fourth member of the Barone family to don the Green and White last season. He joins current Spartan Hunter as well as former MSU players Mark (2008-11) Domenic (2008-12).
After taking on No. 18 Bowling Green, things do not get an easier for the Spartans. Michigan State will then prepare for the annual battle for the Big Bear Trophy against No. 19 Michigan on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.