Men's Soccer Returns To Action Against Northwestern
Oct. 2, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer (5-2, 0-1) team hosts Northwestern (6-2-1, 0-0) on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at Old College Field.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Michigan State lost to Indiana, 3-1, on Sunday at Old College Field. After a scoreless first half, IU's Jacob Peterson scored twice within a five-minute span early in the second half. MSU had a couple of great chances later in the period, but a Hoosier defenseman blocked a ball on the goal line and a Spartan header was deflected just wide by a diving goalkeeper. Ryan McMahen cut the deficit to 2-1 on a free kick from 30 yards out with just over three minutes left. With the MSU defense pushing up in an attempt to record the tying score, Peterson broke free for his third goal of the game.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Northwestern will bring a 6-2-1 record into East Lansing. The Wildcats had a six-game unbeaten streak snapped on Sunday with a 2-1 loss to Evansville. Sunday's contest will be the Big Ten opener for the Wildcats. Northwestern sophomore forward Gerardo Alvarez leads the conference with nine goals. In goal, NU has split time almost equally between sophomore Justin Pines and junior Brian Heckenbach.
THE SERIES: Michigan State leads the all-time series with Northwestern by a remarkable 21-2-2 margin. This includes a 10-1 advantage in games at Old College Field. The last three games, however, have been tightly contested with the Spartans winning 1-0 in both 2001 and 2002, before playing to a 1-1 draw last season.
MSU'S ONE-TWO PUNCH: Leading Michigan State's offensive attack is the senior forward duo of Jordan Gruber and John Minagawa-Webster. Minagawa-Webster leads the Spartans in goals (6), assists (6) and points (18). Gruber ranks second on the team in goals (5), and poinsts (14) and third in assists (4).
TILLMAN IN GOAL: After splitting time with Chris Austin in several of the early games, sophomore Jason Tillman has emerged as Michigan State's starting goalkeeper. After not being required to make a save in his first three games and recording just one in his fourth contest, Tillman has stopped 21 shots in the last three games, including a career-best 12 in a 2-0 loss to San Diego (9/19).
AROUND THE BIG TEN: The Michigan State-Indiana contest was the only conference game of the weekend. This weekend, Indiana plays at Penn State and Wisconsin visits Ohio State in addition to the MSU-NU game.
Next week, Michigan State will host Loyola-Chicago on Oct. 6, before resuming Big Ten play on the road at Ohio State.
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