Sept. 16, 2010
No. 19 Michigan State men's soccer team will play for conference pride when they host Marquette University in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge opener on Friday (Sept. 17). The game begins at 5 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium.
On Sunday (Sept. 19) the Spartans head to South Bend, Ind. to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The second matchup of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge will kick off at 2 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
Listen to Spartan Sports Podcasts:
Head Coach Damon Rensing | Rubin Bega | Kevin Cope
Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State comes into the Big Ten/Big East Challenge with an overall record of 3-1-0. The Spartans had a strong offensive weekend to rebound them from a tough loss to Georgetown on Sept. 5. MSU defeated Providence 4-0 in their 2010 home opener on Friday, then beat Niagara 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. Rubin Bega leads Michigan State in scoring with three goals, while Brent Rosendall and Spencer Thompson follow close behind with two each. Thompson also sits atop the MSU assist chart with four, and his eight points on the season finds him on the leaderboard with eight points.. Senior Avery Steinlage had a strong weekend, not allowing a goal in more than 140 minutes, bettering his save percentage to .731 and lowering his goals-against average to 1.91.
A Look at the Golden Eagles
Marquette University arrives in East Lansing on Friday with a 1-2-1 overall record. In their most recent action, the Golden Eagles fell to Santa Clara, 2-0, in their home invitational last weekend.
Leading scorers for the Golden Eagles are Calum Mallace and Chris Madsen, who have each tallied one goal each David Check is Marquette's top goalkeeper; he posts a 0 .60 GAA and .867 save percentage.
Scouting the Irish
Notre Dame will start Big Ten/Big East competition against Michigan on Friday with an overall record of 2-1-1. The Irish captured the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament last weekend, capping it with a 5-1 victory over Cal Poly in their last outing. Steven Perry and Dillon Powers head the Irish offense with two goals and two assists respectively. Will Walsh, who owns a .47 GAA and .889 save percentage, is Notre Dames' top keeper.
Michigan State moved up four spots in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll. The Spartans are 19th in the poll which was released on Tuesday. Other polls find the Spartans as high as 15th (Soccer America, Top Drawer Soccer) and College Soccer News has the Spartans slotted at 19th.
Co-captain Spencer Thompson (Shelbytown, Mich.) earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors, as announced Monday (Sept. 13) by the Big Ten office. This is Thompson's second career Big Ten Player of the Week award, and the team's first this season. In addition, Thompson received some national honors, being named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com and CollegeSoccerNews.com's Teams of the Week.
The senior midfielder racked up seven points on two goals and three assists in two victories for the No. 23 Spartans last week. Thompson tallied two helpers in MSU's 4-0 win against Providence on Thursday before posting two goals and an assist in a 4-1 victory over Niagara on Sunday. Thompson had a hand in five of Michigan State's eight goals in the weekend series, which improved the team's overall record to 3-1-0.
Big Ten Leaders
MSU boasts three of the Big Ten's top scorers. Spencer Thompson's eight points has him tied for third in both points and points per game, and his four assists are second overall and tied for second in assists per game (1.0). Rubin Bega's team-leading three goals has him tied for fifth in goals and goals per game, while Brent Rosendall is tied for 10th in the Conference in points. Keeper Avery Steinlage is first in the league in saves (19) and saves per game (4.75).