Spartans Tangle With Wisconsin Sunday
Oct. 14, 2011
Michigan State, a winner in three of its last four outings, travels to Wisconsin for a Sunday Big Ten showdown. The Badgers are the current Big Ten leaders, looking to move to 3-0 in the league; MSU is on a hot streak looking to climb from its current fourth place and 1-1-1 mark.
MSU is 9-20-4 all-time in its matchup with its Big Ten rivals from Madison, and is 4-10-1 in games played in the Badger's facilty. The Spartans took a 3-0 victory last year in East Lansing, and Wisconsin needed overtime to down MSU in 2009 when the teams last played on UW's home field.
MSU is 4-6-2 on the season, with all of its losses by a single goal and two of its losses coming in overtime. In Conference play, MSU is 1-1-1. The Spartans have put together a nice 3-1-0 streak over the last two weeks, and look to continue that run as they head to Madison on Sunday. Freshman Adam Montague and senior centerback Mark Barone share the team scoring lead with eight points, Montague's coming on three goals and a pair of assists. Barone has a pair of goals and a team-best four assists. In net, statistics cannot accurately describe the contributions of senior captain Jeremy Clark, who has made several big saves in key moments to keep MSU in every game this season. Clark owns a 1.02 GAA and .787 save percentage.
MSU wrapped up a four-game homestand last Sunday as it picked up its first Big Ten victory of the season, defeating Penn State, 1-0. The Spartans got a first-half score from Mark Barone, which stood up as the game-winner. Meanwhile, the Spartan defense was at its best, limiting the Nittany Lions to four shots on the day, and none on net. The Spartans got on the board in the 30th minute of play. Rubin Bega took the corner kick from the left side, and Barone was at the far post to head the ball into the right-side netting past Penn State keeper Adam Wolverton. Penn State's best chance in the first half came in the final two minutes of the period, when Grant Warming had a shot just inside the 18, but it sailed high and out of danger. The Spartans kept pressing in the second half, looking for some insurance. Fatai Alashe had a tremendous chance with 23 minutes remaining, beating the goalie at the left post and looking to dish to the right side to Brent Rosendall, but the defender stepped in to tap it out of danger. Saydee had another grade-A chance exactly a minute later, but Wolverton dove to his left for the stop. MSU outshot their guests by a 11-4 margin, which included an 7-0 edge in shots on net. The Spartans had 13 corners to the Nittany Lions' two, and Penn State held the edge in fouls, 12-9.
Senior center back Mark Barone received several accolades for his play last week. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the Conference office on Monday. In addition, College Soccer News has named Barone to its Team of the Week, and Soccer America had Barone on their Team of the Week as well. Barone helped MSU to a pair of victories last week. In a midweek tilt against Milwaukee, Barone opened the game's scoring with his first goal of the season, then assisted on Adam Montague's game-winner late in the second half. In the week's Big Ten matchup, Barone scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Penn State. Defensively, Barone has been a key player for Damon Rensing this season, as the team has been shorthanded due to injury. Since losing All-Big Ten centerback Kevin Cope for the season in the second game of the year, Barone has stepped up to not only be the veteran presence in the backfield, but has continued to make positive contributions all over the field. Barone and the Spartan defense not only shut out Penn State, but did not allow the Nittany Lions a shot on net (and just four shots overall.)
Three significant injuries have taken two All-Big Ten players 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
Wisconsin, the current Big Ten leader, is 6-4-2 overall, with a perfect 2-0 mark in Conference games. Tomislav Zadro is the team's scoring leader with a 4-7-15 line. Three players are tied with three goals each - Joey Tenyson has a 3-3-9 line, and Josh Thiermann and Chris Prince both check in with three goals and an assist to their credit. In net, Max Jentsch has posted impressive numbers (0.94 gAA, .774 save percentage) in racing out to a 4-1-2 overall record. Ciro Martinez owns a .667 save percentage and 1.71GAA.
In 12 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.
MSU's 3-0 victory over New Hampshire is the only MSU game this season that was not settled by a goal or less.
In six of MSU's 12 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, andFatai Alashe's goal in the 83rd minute forced a tie at Marquette on Sept. 16. Both Rutz and Alashe are freshmen. Most recently, Montague's tally in the 77th minute secured the Spartan's victory over Milwaukee.
MSU has scored the first goal of the game in only four of its matches this season- in the 3-0 shutout at New Hampshire, in the Big Ten opener at Northwestern and against Milwaukee and Penn State last week. The game against New Hampshire is also the only game that MSU has played this season in which one of the teams scored more than two goals.
Each of MSU's 13 goals this season have been scored by either a senior or a freshman. Freshman Adam Montague leads the team in scoring with three goals and two assists. Seniors Rubin Bega and Mark Barone each have two goals, while seniors Cyrus Saydee, Joe Paljaj, and Garret Back all have one marker. Freshmen Fatai Alashe, Kyle Rutz, and Ryan Keener each have one score as well.
Adam Montague has three goals and two assists in his last five games, which has allowed him to become the team's scoring leader. His goal against Milwaukee was the game-winner, and he tallied the lone Spartan goals against Northwestern and Ohio State.
There are two other Big Ten games on tap on Sunday afternoon Penn State hosts Northwestern, while Ohio State is at Valparaiso. Michigan is hosting Indiana on Saturday afternoon. - Wisconsin enters weekend action in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings with a 2-0 record in Conference games. Ohio State (2-1), Northwestern (1-0-1) and MSU (1-1-1) trail the Badgers, in that order.
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 hosted Ohio State and Penn State the last two Sundays.. The Spartans will tangle with archrival Michigan on Sunday, Oct. 30 in a battle for the Big Bear Trophy, which will also air live. MSU will hold its Senior Day activities at the close of that game.
The Spartans travel to Wisconsin for a 3 p.m. conference game on Sunday, Oct. 16th.
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