MSU Heads To Illinois-Chicago For Mid-Week Match
Sept. 30, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Heading back out on the road, the Michigan State men's soccer team (5-1-1) will travel to University of Illinois-Chicago (6-2-0) at Flames Field on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. ET. It will be the last game before the Spartans open their Big Ten slate.
“I think it will be another good test,” said head coach Damon Rensing. “When you’re trying to play for at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, there’s pressure on every game. We want to keep staying consistent and continue to get better and this is a good challenge for us to do that.”
Join The Chain
“It might sound cliché, but I’m all about the program and I wanted to do something promotional wise that would be for the team, but at the same time helping my skills,” said Dobbins. “(Assistant coach) Kylie (Stannard) likes to say that I did 95% and he did 5% because he came up with the idea. We wanted to do some type of video and we thought that this would be a good way to symbolize the team and connecting everyone who supports us. We thank everyone who helped make it possible.”
In the Rankings
Currently, the Spartans are first in the Big Ten for total assists (19), assists per game (2.43), tied for first in fewest goals allowed (four), is second in total shots (111), goals against average (0.55) and total shutouts (5) and tied for second fewest goals allowed (four). MSU is fourth in the nation in assists per game (2.71), save percentage (.875) and shutout percentage (.71), tied for eighth in total assists (19), is 14th in points per game (6.43), tied for 17th in won-lost-tied percentage (.786) and No. 18 in goals against average (0.55).
Last Time Out
After MSU maintained possession with back-to-back opportunities in the first half, a corner kick from Sean Conerty set up a bullet shot in by Chapman off an assist by Fatai Alashe in the 70th minute. Putting the first points on the board and giving MSU a 1-0 lead, Chapman scored his first goal of the season and fifth of his career. Returning to the game twice after getting stitched up and having to change jerseys on two separate occasions, Keener headed a goal into the back of the net off a corner kick from Ryan Thelen to put the Spartans up 2-0 in the 75th minute. It was Keener's first goal of the season, fourth of his career.
Bennett is currently first in the Big Ten with a .875 Sv%, second in goals against average (0.55), shutouts (5) and shutouts per game (0.71 avg.) and third in saves (28) and saves per game (4.5 avg.). In the win against the Falcons, Bennett recorded a career-high eight saves on the day en route to earning his fourth shutout of the season, seventh of his career. The sophomore is also No. 7 in the nation in save percentage and 17th in the country in goals against average. It is the third weekly honor for the Plano, Texas, native who has played in every minute of the 2013 season.
Another Brick In The Wall
Stifling The Flames
“They are a very well-organized defensive team,” Rensing said. “It doesn’t matter who you play, and they’ve played some good teams with Gonzaga and a few others, but it’s hard to go five games without giving up a goal. Their goal tender Putna is very good. That’s the thing, you’ve got to be patient against them. You’re not going to walk in there and just start lighting up the score board. You just have to be patient and you can’t be casual. I think that’s what we will have to be.”
Entering his fourth season as head coach, Sean Phillips owns a 29-27-5 record and returns 12 letterwinners from the 2012 squad that finished third in the Horizon Conference. The Flames are led by Jorge Alvarez (3-4-10), Jesus Torres (3-3-9) and Kyle Lindberg (3-0-6). In goal, Andrew Putna owns a 0.75 GAA with a .875 Sv%, playing the entirety of UIC’s eight games this season.
“I think it will be a bit of a defensive struggle,” said Rensing. “The guys on offense will have to be patient, but I think you’ve got to take chances. Every goal doesn’t have to be pretty. Sometimes you get one and the second one comes a little bit easier. They might have to change how they play if we get a lead or vice versa. I just think patience will be key.”
Hovering Over The Horizon League
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 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.
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
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.
At The Helm
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
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