No. 11 MSU Readies for Showdown With No. 19 OSU
Oct. 1, 2010
Particulars : No. 11 Michigan State makes its Big Ten road debut at No. 19 Ohio State this Sunday in a 12 p.m. kickoff. Both teams started Big Ten play with a 1-0 record last weekend, and are the highest-ranked Big Ten teams in the NSCAA National Poll.
Scouting the Spartans : The Spartans have won six straight, allowing just two goals in that span. MSU posted shutouts in the three games against Big East members (Providence, Marquette, and Notre Dame) and in its Big Ten opener last weekend against Northwestern (2-0); the side allowed single goals to Niagara and Duquesne for the only opponent scores in those six contests.
The Spartans have gotten offense from several positions - 11 different players have found their names on the scoresheet, and nine of them have scored a goal. Domenic Barone owns the team lead in goal scoring (4), and Spencer Thompson and Rubin Bega each have three. Cyrus Saydee is leading the squad in assists (six). Senior co-captain Spencer Thompson sits atop the scoring chart with 11 points, (3-5-11), just ahead of Domenic Barone (4-1-9-) . Saydee `s 1-6-8 rounds out the top three.
Defensively, Avery Steinlage is continuing his strong play in the box. The redshirt senior owns an .826 saves percentage and a 1.04 GAA with three shutouts.
Recapping Recent Action: Michigan State began Big Ten competition with a 2-0 victory over Northwestern last Sunday at DeMartin Stadium. Seniors Spencer Thompson and Jeff Ricondo each tallied goals to improve the Spartans' record to 7-1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Thompson gave the Spartans their first Big Ten goal in the 21st minute of the game, and fellow captain Jeff Ricondo advanced MSU's lead to 2-0 in the 66th minute of play. Avery Steinlage preserved the victory for the Spartans by rejecting four shots from Northwestern. The win is MSU's fourth shutout this season and the red-shirt senior's 20th overall.
Looking at the Buckeyes : Ohio State is 5-2-2 on the season, which includes a 2-2 tie with top-ranked Akron on Wednesday and opening the Big Ten schedule with a 1-0 victory over Michigan last weekend. OSU is unbeaten in its last three games after dropping back-to-back games in a mid-September trip to Florida.MSU will be OSU's third ranked opponent in their last four games. The Buckeyes played to a 0-0 deadlock at No. 8 Louisville on Sept. 22.
Wednesday's midweek game was played in front of more than 7,000 fans who turned out to see the tilt between the No. 1 and No. 19-ranked teams in the country. a The Zips (6-0-2) had not allowed a goal since Nov. 15, 2009, a streak of 11 games, tying the NCAA record previously set by Furman (2002) and Virginia (2009). Ohio State was the first team to score two goals on the national runners-up since Nov. 7 of last season.
Konrad Warzycha is the top scorer for OSU, netting four goals for eight points. Chris Hegngi and Austin McAnena each have chipped in a pair of goals and an assist to round out the top three scorers for the Buckeyes.Sophomore keeper Matt Lampson has recorded back-to-back double-digit save performances, stopping 10 against the top-ranked Zips after he tallied 11 saves in the Buckeyes' 1-0 win over Michigan He owns a 0.64 GAA and .889 saves percentage
National Picture : Michigan State moved up four spots in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll for the second consecutive week, and currently sit at No. 11. Other polls find the Spartans as high as fifth (Soccer America); Top Drawer Soccer has MSU at No. 9, and College Soccer News has the Spartans slotted at 13th.
Big Ten Leaders : MSU is the only one-loss team in the conference; in terms of winning percentage, the Spartans (.875) and Ohio State (5-2-2, .667) enter Sunday's game as the highest-ranked teams overall.
MSU boasts three of the Big Ten's top scorers. Thompson's 11 points has him tied for fifth in points and sixth in points per game, and his four assists are third overall and tied for third in assists per game. Domenic Barone's three goals in five games not only has him tied for fourth in overall goals, but puts him third in points per game (1.80) and goals per game (0.80). Rubin Bega's three goals has him tied with Thompson for seventh in goals. Cyrus Saydee's eight points has him tied for ninth in the league in that category, and his six assists is the second-highest total in the Conference. Keeper Avery Steinlage is second in the league in saves per game (5.33), and he is third in GAA (1.04), save percentage (.826) in total saves (38), and shutouts (3).
National Statistics: Michigan State ranks 11th nationally in total offense (19 goals), and is 17th in the country in scoring offense, averaging 2.38 goals per game The squad is also fifth in winning percentage (.875).
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