Men's Soccer Prepares For Big Ten Tournament
Oct. 31, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's soccer team will clash with Ohio State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m., at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, with the Buckeyes also serving as hosts of this year's tournament. The Spartans are coming off a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes in the final regular-season game of the year on Oct. 29.
Michigan State concluded the regular season with an overall record of 10-6-2, while going 1-3-2 in Big Ten play, its lone win coming against Northwestern (2-1, 2 OT, Oct. 22). Reaching 10 total wins, MSU has recorded seven double-digit win seasons since 2000.
"The line between winning and losing in the Big Ten is pretty thin," Michigan State head coach Joe Baum said. "I think all the games are going to be close, as they were in the regular season, and it will be important to score first."
The Green and White is 11-14-1 all time in Big Ten Tournament play, including a 4-1 mark over the last two seasons. Michigan State claimed its first and only Big Ten Championship in 2004. The Spartans beat Wisconsin (1-0), Indiana (2-1) and Northwestern (1-0) for the title. MSU bowed out in the semifinals last season, falling 2-0 to Penn State after beating Michigan, 1-0, in the first round.
MSU has faced the Buckeyes six times in the Big Ten Tournament, posting a 4-2 record. The Spartans have won the last two games against OSU, including a 3-2 defeat of the Buckeyes in 2002. The Spartans' four wins against the Buckeyes in postseason play is the highest total against any Big Ten foe. MSU holds a 6-3-1 advantage overall past 10 meetings against the Buckeyes, but has not won in Columbus since 2001 (2-1, Nov. 8).
Michigan State is led into post-season play by junior attacker Kenzo Webster, pacing the team with seven goals with seven and 15 points. Just behind Webster is senior midfielder and co-captain Matt Kreikemeier with six goals. In addition, Jason Tillman has emerged as one of the top goaltenders in the country, allowing just 17 goals in 18 games, for a goals-against average of 0.68.
Indiana earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will receive a bye in the first round and then will face the winner of No. 4 Penn State and No. 5 Northwestern. The Michigan State/Ohio State winner will face the winner of No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 6 Michigan. The semi-final matches will be played on Friday, and the championship game will be played on Sunday.
If Michigan State advances, its semi-final match against the Wisconsin/Michigan winner will be played on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans have been successful in night games this season, posting a 3-1 record.
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