Nov. 2, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State men's soccer team, receiving votes and ranked 22nd in the most recent NSCAA and Soccer Times polls, respectively, will host No. 2/2 Akron in it's final regular-season tilt at home on Wednesday (Nov. 3). Kickoff is 3:00 p.m. at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans enter the week with an overall record of 11-5-0, and finished the Big Ten campaign with a 2-4-0 record.
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Last Time Out
Michigan State rallied from a 2-0 deficit with a pair of late second-half goals by Domenic Barone, but ultimately fell in overtime, 3-2, at Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
The game-winner came in the 98th minute. Avery Steinlage had come up with a pair of saves on back-to-back attempts by Justin Meram in the 96th minute. After Mark Barone had a header sail just wide, Harmoody Saad`s volley from about 50 yards out gave Michigan the golden goal. It was the first-ever win for Michigan on its home turf over the Spartans.
Barone, who missed a penalty shot in the first half, had both of MSU's second-half markers, and just missed the upper-right corner for the game-winner off a corner play late in regulation.
Scouting the Spartans
With both goals against the Wolverines, Domenic Barone is now topping the MSU scoring charts with eight goals and 19 points. Brent Rosendall follows with seven goals (16 points), and Spencer Thompson ranks third in points (14) and leads the team in assists with eight. while Cyrus Saydee is right behind with 12 points and a second-best six helpers. Avery Steinlage is currently posting a GAA of 1.23 and a save percentage of .791 in 16 games played, and he has been the goalie of record in each of MSU's contests this season. Jeremy Clark, who has seen action in four games, owns a1.30 GAA and .667 save percentage.
Akron holds a 22-10-1 overall record in the series, with games dating back to the early 1960's. The Spartans won the first 10 games in the series, but has lost 22 straight to the Zips since, including a 2-1 decision last season in Akron. Last year's meeting was the first between the two teams since 1993.
In last year's contest, Tim Granaderos had the lone score for the Spartans in the 39th minute, which tied the game at one. The game-winner came from Blair Gavin on a penalty kick in the 75th minute. Eventual Hermann Trophy winner Teal Bunbury had the first goal of the game.
Looking at the Zips
Akron, the national runner-up a season ago, comes into Wednesday's game with a 14-1-1 overall record after suffering their first regular season loss since 2008. Last weekend, the Zips could not overcome a pair of late goals in a 2-1 upset by Cleveland State, which cost them the No. 1 national ranking it had held most of the season. It was UA's first loss during the regular run of play since a 1-0 setback at Northwestern in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Prior to Saturday's game, the Zips had gone 40 games (37-1-2) since losing in the regular run of play. It was also Akron's first lost in a regular-season road match since a 1-0 setback at New Mexico in September of 2008. UA had been unbeaten it its last 22 (19-0-3) before Saturday's loss.
Darren Mattocks is leading the Akron offense with 11 goals; Kofi Sarkodie is second-best with seven scored this season. With eight assists, Darlington Nagbe is number one in helpers, while Michael Nanchoff and Anthony Ampaipitakwong have tallied seven each. In 16 games started, David Meves is boasting a GAA of .45 and a save percentage of .829.
Big Ten Leaders
The Spartans continue to sit in the top three spots in the conference in almost every major offensive category: MSU is number one in goals (35), goals per game (2.19).Michigan State is also second in the Big Ten in shutouts (7), assists (32), assists per game (2.00), GAA (1.24), points (102).
Individually, there are eight Spartans who are finding their names among conference leaders in the Big Ten statistical rankings. Domenic Barone is fourth in the conference in points per game (1.59), goals (8), and goals per game (.67), and is sixth in points (19), and shots per game (2.75). Brent Rosendall moved to seventh in the Big Ten in goals (7), and goals (7), is ninth in points (16), and points per game (1.00). Owning eight assists, Spencer Thompson is now standing alone in second in that list, and in assists per game (.50). Meanwhile, Cyrus Saydee is fifth in the conference in assists (6) and seventh for assists per game (.38). Mark Barone is currently in ninth place in assists (4). On the defense, Avery Steinlage is in second place in saves, with 72 stopped and is tied for second-best in shutouts with four. The senior is also fourth in GAA (1.23) this week, and third for save percentage (.791) and saves per game (4.50).
The most recent Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released this Monday (Nov. 1). The RPI is the major tool used by the NCAA men's soccer committee to select the field of 48 which qualifies for the NCAA Tournament; the RPI takes into account not only wins and losses by a team, but also its strength of schedule. Michigan State ranks 12th overall in RPI, the third-highest in the Big Ten, behind Penn State (#8) and Conference regular-season champion Indiana (#9). Akron, Louisville, and North Carolina are the top three in the rankings, followed by Southern Methodist University, Maryland, and California.
Akron represents the ninth team in the RPI Top 48 that MSU has on its schedule this season, and the fifth non-conference squad. MSU has played No. 5 Maryland (W 4-3 in OT); No. 10 Notre Dame (W, 2-0), No. 15 Georgetown (L, 0-4) and No. 33 Providence (W, 4-0). In addition, MSU played No. 24 Duke in an exhibition game prior to the season (W, 1-0).
In the Annals
Senior keeper Avery Steinlage is chiseling his name in the all-time career records at Michigan State. Entering Saturday's game, his career save percentage is .867, which would place him first in the career recordbook, and his 0.72 GAA would be second, one spot ahead of former MSU head coach Joe Baum. He owns 33 career wins (third) and 20 shutouts (tied with Reid Friedrichs) for second in the MSU record book.
Michigan State will wrap up its regular season with a game at Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon. The team must await the upcoming weekend's results before knowing its seed for next weekend's Big Ten Tournament in State College, Penn.