Sept. 17, 2013
WATCH: Men's Soccer Preview
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer team (3-1-0) will host a mid-week matchup with Bowling Green on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium. Following the conclusion of the game, the Spartans will host a meet and greet, and autograph signing with the team.
In the Rankings
MSU is receiving votes in the TopDrawerSoccer.com top-25 poll and the College Soccer News Top-30 Poll, and is tied for sixth with Louisville in the NSCAA Great Lakes poll.
Ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Kevin Cope returns for his final season as a team captain for the Spartans. He was recently recognized on TopDrawerSoccer.com's Preseason Best XI second team and is ranked No. 22 of the top-100 Division I players.
Adam Montague, also a team captain, was ranked sixth in the conference by TopDrawerSoccer.com's heading into the 2013 season after posting a goal in every game of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. He is also No. 47 in the country on TopDrawerSoccer.com's top-100.
Last Time Out
Michigan State brought home its first road win after defeating Marquette on Sunday, 2-0, in Milwaukee, Wis. MSU earned its third shutout of the season against the Golden Eagles, who was ranked No. 16 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com and was receiving votes in the NSCAA poll. With the win, the Spartans improved to 3-1-0 and snapped Marquette's 14-game home-winning streak.
Jay Chapman set up a pass to Tim Kreutz who tucked it into the net in the 35th minute to put MSU on the board first and give them a 1-0 lead at the half. It was Kreutz' first goal of the season, and third of his career. The Spartans kept up the momentum in the second half as Sean Conerty scored off a cross from Brent McIntosh in the 51st minute to give Michigan State a 2-0 win over the Golden Eagles. Conerty is tied for the team lead with two goals through four games this season.
Goalkeeper Zach Bennett was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week as announced by the conference office on Monday. With the help of a stout backline, the sophomore Spartan earned his third shutout in four games this season, the sixth of his career, taking down nationally-ranked Marquette, 2-0. Bennett currently leads the Big Ten in goals against average with 0.50 and is second in the conference in both save percentage at .818 and shutouts at three. It is the second weekly honor for the Plano, Texas, native who earned his first Big Ten weekly laurel on Oct. 22, 2012 after shutting out Oakland (1-0) and Wisconsin (2-0) and was later named to the 2012 Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
As the reigning Big Ten Tournament Champions, MSU entered the season ranked second in the 2013 Big Ten preseason coaches' poll with 21 returning Spartans.
After recording his first career goal in his inaugural start as a Spartan, freshman Dewey Lewis was named Big Ten Player of the Week by College Soccer Madness on Sept. 2. Lewis stole the ball away from a Bronco defender and beat the keeper to earn an unassisted goal.
In addition to Dewey Lewis' first career goal scored against Western Michigan in his Spartan debut, redshirt senior Ryan Thelen scored his first career goal on Sept. 6 against Oregon State. The game-winning goal was scored off Thelen's seventh corner kick of the game, hooked into the back right corner of the net to give the Spartans a 1-0 victory.
With the win, MSU improved to 2-0 which marked the first time the Spartans started with a two-game shutout since 2007 under former head coach Joe Baum. It was the first 2-0 start to the season for head coach Damon Rensing and the first time in the Rensing era that the Spartans had not allowed a goal in the first two games
Redshirt senior Kevin Cope was chosen as one of 30 candidates for the 2013 men's collegiate soccer 2013 Senior CLASS Award®, presented by Premier Sports Management. He is only the second candidate from MSU men's soccer program to be a candidate for the award established for the sport in 2007, as 2008 captain Doug DeMartin was in the top-30 his senior season.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
The two-time captain has already made a huge impact on the pitch for the Spartans this season. Recording one career goal prior to 2013, Cope has scored two goals in MSU's three games thus far.
In true Spartan fashion, MSU is slated for another tough season of quality non-conference games in addition to a challenging Big Ten conference schedule. Seven NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, including National Champion Indiana and semifinalist Creighton, help make up the 2013 slate.
With thanks to Michigan State Sports Turf Manager Amy Foudy and her staff, DeMartin Stadium was revamped with a new field to open the 2013 season. MSU owns a 52-35-11 record while playing at DeMartin Stadium, which opened its gates in 2008. The Spartans have not had a losing season at Old College Field since 1989. In 57 years of play, MSU has had only two losing seasons at home (1988-89).
The Blueprint on Bowling Green
Michigan State owns an 18-16-6 record over Bowling Green after defeating the Falcons in 2012 in Bowling Green, Ohio, 2-1. The Spartans have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Falcons, with the only other game coming to a scoreless tie. The Falcons, who are in the Mid-American Conference, are 1-2-2 on the season and most recently battled to a 0-0 double overtime draw with Ohio State last weekend.
Head coach Nicholas Deren enters his fifth year at the helm of the Falcons and returns 13 letterwinners from the 2012 season when the team finished 8-9-3. Bowling Green is led by Anthony Grant (1-1-3), Ryan James (1-1-3) and Ryan Comiskey (1-1-3), while goalkeeper Michael Wiest (1.10 GAA, .760 Sv%) has made 19 saves and recorded two shutouts playing the entirety of the Falcons' five games so far this season.
At The Helm
Head Coach Damon Rensing is in his fifth season as head coach, but embarks on his 15th on the Spartan sideline after a standout career for the Spartans (1993-96). Rensing is 46-34-10 in his five seasons as head coach, but MSU boasts a 125-75-21 (.622) overall record with Rensing on the sidelines, including 11 or more wins in nine seasons.
Kylie Stannard and Ben Pirmann serve as the Spartan assistants. Pirmann is also a former Spartan letterwinner, and previously served the program as the volunteer assistant before returning to his alma mater after a coaching stint at Western Michigan. Stannard is a graduate of Creighton, which reached the Elite Eight twice in his career and the semifinals once. Prior to coming to MSU, he was an assistant coach at Northern Illinois. Stannard and Pirmann have both served as the head coach of Detroit City FC, which plays in the National Premier Soccer League. Stannard made his debut in 2012, while Pirmann coached the team in 2013. Former MSU keeper Jeremy Clark, who played for MSU 2008-11, is now in his second season as the team's volunteer coach.
Big Ten Broadcast Schedule
The Big Ten Network will televise two Michigan State men's soccer games live this season. MSU's showdown with Ohio State at DeMartin Stadium is the first game (Oct. 13), and the other home game which will be shown is the Nov. 5 matchup with Notre Dame. The Spartans' games against Valparaiso (Sept. 8), Penn State (Oct. 20) and Michigan (Nov. 9) will be broadcast on Big Ten Digital Network; a paid subscription is necessary. The Big Ten Network will also televise the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held Nov. 15-17 at Ohio State.
Follow along with the game through live stats available on Gametracker on MSUSpartans.com and follow @MSUMSoccer on twitter for play-by-play updates during the game.
The Spartans will have a weekend break before traveling to No. 5 Creighton in Omaha, Neb., on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Held at Morrison Stadium, the game will be broadcast live with a paid subscription at GoCreighton.com.