Men's Soccer Opens Up Conference Play at Northwestern
M. Soccer Preview
Sept. 22, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State men's soccer team (1-5-1) kicks off Big Ten play this weekend, traveling to Northwestern on Saturday, Sept. 24th. The match against the Wildcats begins at 8 p.m. eastern and is available to watch on BigTenNetwork.com.
MSU got a tie and a loss during the Big Ten/BIG EAST challenge games, tying Marquette, 1-1, in double overtime and dropping a hard-fought decision to No. 22 Notre Dame, 1-0. In the match against the Golden Eagles, both teams remained scoreless going into the second half. Marquette got on the board first, scoring off of a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Freshman Fatai Alashe netted his first collegiate goal to send the game into extra time. Jeremy Clark made four saves in the contest.
In a quick turnaround from a Friday night game on the road, the Spartans hosted Notre Dame on Sunday. MSU held the Fighting Irish scoreless until the 55th minute when the visiting team tallied a header off of a corner kick. The Spartans had several chances, but could not gain an equalizer. Clark had a highlight-reel performance, making an impressive eight saves.
Goalkeeper Jeremy Clark's tallied a career-high eight saves against the Irish. His eight-save performance also ties him for the most saves in a single game in the Big Ten this season. Clark is tied with Indiana's Luis Soffner, who recorded eight saves against Denver.
Rubin Bega ranks in a tenth-place tie in the statistical rankings with his two goals on the season. He is also tied for ninth in total points (6). Keeper Jeremy Clark is fourth in the Big Ten in goals against average (1.12). He comes in third with his saves per game average of 3.83.
Northwestern enters Saturday contest with a 3-3-1 record. The Wildcats most recently blanked UC Davis, 1-0, and Xavier, 2-0 in the Lakeside Classic. NU boasts a 3-1 home record and are led offensively by Oliver Kupe who has three goals this season. In net for the Wildcats is freshman Tyler Miller, who has notched four shutouts, a GAA of 0.48 and a save percentage of .800. Junior midfielder Chris Ritter is the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after scoring in both matches of the Lakeside Classic.
Michigan State began its 2010 Big Ten season at home, hosting Northwestern. The No. 15 Spartans notched a 2-0 victory against the Wildcats. Seniors Jeff Ricondo and Spencer Thompson tallied MSU's two goals while the shutout was the fourth of senior goaltender Avery Steinlage's season and the 20th of his career.
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.
In addition to the three over-the-air broadcasts, Saturday's game at Northwestern will air on BigTenNetwork.com.
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 Spartans will host Illinois-Chicago in a mid-week tilt at DeMartin Stadium. MSU continues Big Ten Play next weekend, hosting Ohio State in a game that will air on the Big Ten Network.