Sept. 21, 2010
No. 15 Michigan State men's soccer has a busy week of action, traveling for a night game (7 p.m.) at Duquesne on Wednesday. The Spartans return home for their Big Ten opener on Sunday (Sept.26), hosting Northwestern. Sunday's game against the Wildcats begins at 1 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium, and will be shown on the Big Ten Network on tape delay at 5 p.m.
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Head Coach Damon Rensing
Scouting the Spartans
The Spartans have won four straight, allowing just one goal in that span. MSU posted shutouts in the three games against Big East members Providence, Marquette, and Notre Dame, and allowed a late goal against Niagara for the only opponent score in those four contests.
The Spartans have gotten offense from several positions - 10 different players have found their names on the scoresheet, and and eight of them have scored a goal. Rubin Bega and Domenic Barone are tied for the team lead in goal scoring, each with three, Cyrus Saydee is leading the squad in assists (five). Senior co-captain Spencer Thompson sits atop the scoring chart with eight points, (2-4-8), while Domenic Barone (3-1-7-) and Saydee (1-5-7) round out the top three. .
Defensively, Avery Steinlage is continuing his strong play in the box. The redshirt senior owns an .821 saves percentage and a 1.23 GAA with two shutouts.
A Look at the Dukes
On the strength of back-to-back shutouts, keeper Avery Steinlage was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Steinlage made 13 saves in the victories over Marquette and Notre Dame, and is riding a shutout streak of 336:24, dating back to the Georgetown game on Sept. 5. Offensively, junior Cyrus Saydee shared Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors with Matheus Braga of Penn State this week. Saydee scored MSU's lone goal in a 1-0 home victory over Marquette, then had assists on both of Domenic Barone's markers against Notre Dame on Sunday. Saydee was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week.
Co-captain Spencer Thompson earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 13.
Duquesne enters Wednesday night's game with a 3-2-0 overall record. The Dukes had won three in a row (which included the Pitt/Nike Tournament title) before falling to Detroit, 3-2, on Saturday. The squad is led in scoring by Simon Gomez, who has five goals and an assist on the season. Stefan Lundberg has a 2-2-6 scoring line, while Tyler Tompkins (1-1-3) and Joshua Patterson (1-0-2) are the other Dukes with scores this season. Chris Torres is the keeper of record in all five of Duquesne's games this season, and he owns a .720 saves percentage and 1.40 GAA.
Looking Ahead to the Wildcats
Northwestern, which was selected third in the Big Ten preseason poll (two spots ahead of the Spartans), will not play a midweek game in advance of traveling to East Lansing on Sunday. The Wildcats come into the Big Ten opener on the heels of a tough loss to Holy Cross in which the only goal of the contest was an own goal by NU.
Northwestern is 3-3-0, and has only played two home games this season - last weekend's Lakeside Classic games against Holy Cross and a 2-0 victory over Gonzaga. Oliver Kupe and Jack Hillgard are the top scorers for Northwestern, Kupe with three goals and an assist and Hillgard with a pair of scores. The Wildcats also boast six other players with a goal this season. Drew Kotler has been the keeper of record for four of NU's six games (3-1-0), and he boasts a 0.44 GAA and .867 saves percentage. Jonathan Harris has a 2.67 GAA and .600 save percentage in two losses.
Michigan State moved up four spots in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll to No. 15.. Other polls find the Spartans as high as eighth (Soccer America); Top Drawer Soccer has MSU at No. 12, and College Soccer News has the Spartans slotted at 17th.
Big Ten Leaders
The Spartans enter the week in which Big Ten Conference play begins tied atop the Big Ten standings with Penn State, both boasting a 5-1-0 record. Michigan (3-1-3) is the only other one-loss team in the Big Ten; Ohio State is 4-2-0, Northwestern and Indiana are both 3-3-0, and Wisconsin checks in at 1-4-1.
MSU boasts three of the Big Ten's top scorers. Thompson's eight points has him tied for fifth in points and sixth in points per game, and his four assists are third overall and tied for second in assists per game. Domenic Barone's three goals in three games not only has him tied for sixth in overall goals, but puts him second in points per game (2.33) and goals per game (1.0). Rubin Bega's three goals has him tied with Barone and Northwestern's Oliver Kupe for sixth in goals. Cyrus Saydee's seven points has him tied for eighth in the league inpoints, and his five assists is the second-highest total in the Conference. . Keeper Avery Steinlage is first in the league in saves per game (5.33), second in total saves (32), and he is third in shutouts (2).