MSU hosts Ohio State Sunday
Sept. 30, 2011
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Michigan State hosts Big Ten rival Ohio State in its first Conference game at DeMartin Stadium this season. The Spartans are undefeated in their last two games, including a 1-1 draw at Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last weekend.
Sunday's match will be televised live on BTN with Dean Linke and Chris Doran calling the action. It is the first of three games in which MSU will appear on the Big Ten Network live this season.
MSU owns an 22-16-2 record all-time against the Buckeyes, which includes a 11-4-1 record in games played in East Lansing. Ohio State has won five straight games in the series, as MSU's last win came in 2005. Last year's 2-1 OSU decision in Columbus snapped a streak of four straight Buckeye shutouts.
MSU is 2-5-2 on the season, with all of its losses by a single goal and two of its losses coming in overtime. Three significant injuries have taken two potential All-Big Ten candidates out of the lineup - Domenic Barone was lost for the season before it began, and Kevin Cope was injured in the second game of the year against Connecticut - and Tim Kreutz has not played at all this season as well.
OSU comes into Sunday's matchup with one win in its last four games, which includes setbacks to No. 4 Louisville (1-0) and No. 5 Akron (3-1). This is just the third true road game for the Buckeyes, and its first Big Ten game on the road after opening with a 3-2 victory over Michigan last weekend. In each of its last three games, OSU has taken on one of the four teams that participated in last year's College Cup (Louisville, the Wolverines, and the defending National Champion Zips).
Chris Hegngi leads the OSU attack with five goals, followed by Sebastian Rivas, who owns a 4-0-8 scoring line. Austin McAnena and Parnell Hegngi each have contributd 2-2-6.
In net, Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate and 2010 First Team All-Big Ten keeper Matt Lampson returns for the Buckeyes, and owns a 1.37 GAA and .736 save percentage.
Freshman Kyle Rutz made his first career goal a memorable one as he scored the game-winning tally in the 79th minute to lead Michigan State past Illinois-Chicago, 2-1, Tuesday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, the Flames got on the board just over six minutes into the second half as Jesus Torres scored his third goal of the season at the 51:12 mark.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Spartans (2-5-2) quickly responded with a goal less than four minutes later. UIC back Zach Kaleta was flagged with a yellow card for making contact with Adam Montague in the box on a possible scoring opportunity, and Cyrus Saydee was selected to take the penalty kick for MSU. Saydee converted with a strike to the left corner of the net past Flames goalkeeper Piotr Kikolski to tie the game at 1. It was Saydee's first of the season.
The game -winner came with just over 20 minutes remaining in regulation. Joe Paljaj started the play with the corner and passed the ball toward the center of the field to Ryan Thelen, who promptly sent it right back to Paljaj on the left side of the box. Paljaj sent a pass toward the net looking for a Spartan to make a play - and Rutz was in the right place at the right time. The freshman re-directed the pass and placed it in the upper-left corner for the game-winner. Jeremy Clark made four saves in the victory.
In nine games this season, the Spartans have gone to overtime four times, and each of its last three OT games have gone to the second overtime session. MSU is 0-2-2 in games which needed extra time.
Head Coach Damon Rensing's scheduling philosophy has always been to challenge his teams with a difficult schedule - and 2011 is no different. The Spartans line up against nine teams which qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, and MSU has already tangled with then-No. 5 UConn (which is No. 1 in the first RPI report), and No. 22 Notre Dame. The Spartans will also take on defending National Champion Akron later in the season.
MSU's 3-0 victory over New Hampshire is the only game for the Spartans this season that was not settled by a goal or less.
MSU has converted just one of three penalty kick opportunities this season, with Cyrus Saydee netting MSU's first of the season in the game against UIC (9/27). MSU missed a pair or penalty kick opportunities in the game against Georgetown, including one in the first overtime session.
Six of MSU's nine goals this season have come after halftime. MSU has allowedseven of its 10 goals after the intermission, including two in overtime.
In five of MSU's nine games, late goals have been decision-making tallies. The Spartans have lost twice in overtime in golden goal situations, and allowed a marker with under three minutes left in regulation at Northwestern to forge a 1-1 tie in the Big Ten opener. On the reverse side, MSU got a goal by Kyle Rutz in the 79th minute to break a deadlock in Tuesday's 2-1 win over UIC, and Fatai Alashe's goal in the 83rd minute forced a tie at Marquette on Sept. 16. Both Rutz and Alashe are freshmen.
MSU has scored the first goal of the game in only two of its matches this season- in the 3-0 shutout at New Hampshire, and in last Saturday's Big Ten opener at Northwestern.
Each of MSU'a nine goals this season have been scored by either a senior or a sophomore. Senior Rubin Bega has two goals, while classmates Cyrus Saydee, Joe Paljaj, and Garret Back all have one marker. Freshmen Adam Montague, Fatai Alashe, Kyle Rutz, and Ryan Keener each have one score as well.
Rubin Bega ranks in a tie for 10th in the Big Ten in goals (2), while Cyrus Saydee is tied for fifth in assists (2). Jeremy Clark ranks second in saves per game (4.0), third in overall saves (32), third in save percentage (.780) and third in GAA (1.03)
On Oct. 8-9, the Spartan men's and women's soccer programs will salute Joe Baum, who retired from Michigan State University on June 30 after parts of six decades as a part of the MSU soccer programs. The former Spartan mentor will be honored at both the women's game against Illinois on Saturday and the men's game against Penn State. It is also alumni weekend for both programs.
Baum served as the head coach of the men's program for 32 years, and was the women's program's first head coach (1986-90). He stepped down from his position of men;s head coach after the 2008 season, and served his final two seasons as an assistant to his former player and assistant, Damon Rensing.
Baum, who was a goalkeeper for the men's soccer program in the late 60s and helped the Spartans win a share of the 1968 NCAA Championship, helped the most recent team into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to North Carolina in penalty kicks. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in the early 70s, and patrolled the Spartan sidelines for 36 seasons. Baum stepped down as the head coach of the program after the 2008 campaign, turning the reins of the program over to his longtime assistant and former player, Rensing. Baum stayed on with the program as an assistant coach to his protégé, and last season, helped lead the Spartans into the NCAA Round of 16, the furthest MSU had advanced in the NCAA Tournament since Baum was the team's goalkeeper for the Spartan 1968 NCAA co-Champions.
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.
MSU continues its four-game homestand with a Tuesday tilt against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, then hosts Penn State next Sunday.
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