MSU Heads to Oakland for Non-Conference Tilt
Oct. 16, 2012
Michigan State hits the road for a non-conference matchup on Wednesday evening against Oakland. Kickoff time is 7 p.m.
The Spartans enter Wednesday's contest with a 5-7-1 overall record, and are 1-2 in Big Ten play. The Golden Grizzlies hold a 9-4 record on the year.
MSU is coming off a tough 2-1 loss at Penn State on Sunday. The Nittany Lions expanded their 1-0 lead two minutes into the second half off of an own goal by the Spartans, which served as the eventual game-winner. Adam Montague scored his third goal of the season to cut the lead to one with just over 35 minutes remaining, but Michigan State couldn't find the equalizing tally.
Adam Montague and Luke Norman lead the Spartans in scoring with three goals and two assists each. The two are tied for sixth in the conference in goals and ninth in scoring with seven points. Seven other Spartans have recorded one goal this season, and Ryan Thelen's four assists is a team high and good for third-best in the Big Ten.
Freshman keeper Zach Bennett earned his first collegiate start at Ohio State, and backstopped the Spartans to their first Big Ten win of the season. Last week, he recorded his first collegiate shutout in a 1-0 victory over Detroit on Wednesday, and made three saves in the loss at Penn State. He has made nine saves through his first three games and holds a .750 save percentage and 2-1 record.
Oakland enters Wednesday's contest having won six of its last seven games, outscoring opponents 22-4 during that stretch. The Golden Grizzlies are 6-0 at home this season and are atop the Summit League with a perfect 4-0 record in conference play.
Oakland is led by Kyle Bethel is the team's leading scorer with six goals and ten assists. Miche'le Lipari and Joey Tinnion have each recorded five goals followed by Matt Dudley with three goals and five assists.
Scott Messer and Eliott Tarney are the two goalkeepers for Oakland. Messer has started 11 games this season and holds a 1.32 GAA and .750 save percentage to go along with his 42 saves and four shutouts. Tarney has started only two games this season with both starts coming recently. He has nine saves and holds a 0.76 GAA and .818 save percentage.
Five teams on MSU's 2012 slate appeared in last week's NSCAA National poll. Four of those teams (all MSU non-conference opponents) are in the current NSCAA Top 10: No. 3 Akron, No. 4 Marquette, No. 6 Connecticut, and No. 7 Notre Dame. Conference opponent Indiana is No. 12 while Northwestern also received votes.
Some significant injuries have shortened MSU's bench this season, with players being lost for the remainder of the year. Starting back Josh Barens has not seen the field at all this season, but is expected to be ready to go for spring training and games. He will apply for a medical redshirt season. Freshman Andrew Herr sustained a season-ending injury in the exhibition game vs. IPFW, and will also apply for a medical redshirt.
Head Coach Damon Rensing is in his fourth season as head coach, but embarks on his 14th on the Spartan sideline after a standout career for the Spartans (1993-96). Rensing is 31-23-9 in his first three seasons as head coach, but MSU boasts an 110-64-21 (.619) overall record with Rensing on the sidelines, including 11 or more wins in eight seasons.
Michigan State was selected third in the pre-season Big Ten men's soccer poll. In conjunction with the pre-season survey, Senior Domenic Barone , junior Kevin Cope and sophomore Adam Montague were mentioned on the Big Ten 2012 Players to Watch List.
There are lots of great ways to follow the soccer program - as well as all 25 of MSU's varsity sports - other than gameday. Videos, previews, and game recaps can be found at www.MSUSpartans.com, while coverage of the team on twitter can be found at @MSUMSoccer and @MSU_Athletics . On facebook, "like" us at www.facebook.com/pages/Michigan-State-Mens-Soccer.
The Spartans return home on Sunday and are back in Big Ten action when they take on Wisconsin. Gametime is 1 p.m. and will be featured in a live broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
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