Soccer Earns Seventh Seed in NCAA Tournament
The No. 7-seeded Spartans will host Air Force or Virginia Tech on Sunday.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s soccer team earned the No. 7 overall seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, earning a first round bye. In the second round, the Spartans will host the winner of the first round game between Virginia Tech and Air Force at DeMartin Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. The Spartans have lost only one game at DeMartin Stadium in the last two seasons. Virginia Tech and Air Force play their first round game on Thursday, Nov. 16 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Complete 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket
“First of all credit to our guys. I think that speaks to two things first our strength of schedule was the 15th-hardest in the nation. We went 3-1-3 against the top-25 RPI teams, and second, playing in the Big Ten Conference really prepared us. The Big Ten Conference and three teams seeded and a total of five. It is great to see five of the nine teams in the conference make the tournament,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.
The last time the Spartans earned a first-round bye was in 2014 when MSU was the overall No. 3 seed. The Spartans advanced to the Elite Eight that season before being edged by Providence, 3-2, in East Lansing.
Michigan State is 11-3-3 after falling to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. Overall, five Big Ten teams earned a bid into the NCAA Tournament, with Indiana earning the overall No. 2 seed, as the only undefeated team in the nation. Michigan returns to the tournament as the No. 13 seed, while Wisconsin and Maryland both also earn a berth.
This is the Spartans’ seventh NCAA appearance under Rensing. MSU has posted a 6-5-2 record in NCAA Tournament games under his guidance. The Spartans advanced to the Elite Eight in both 2013 and 2014. Overall, MSU has reached the NCAA Tournament 19 times with a 19-11-8 record.
The Spartans are led by a trio of first-team All-Big Ten honorees in redshirt-junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague, senior defender Jimmy Fiscus and senior midfielder Ken Krolicki. Hague was also the first-ever Spartan to earn Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year honors. The Spartan defense has been stingy this season, allowing only 11 goals with 10 clean sheets. Two-time All-Big Ten selection junior forward Ryan Sierakowski leads the team in scoring with seven goals and three assists for 17 points.
“There is a lot of anticipation, we all were a little nervous. We knew that we could be anywhere from 7-12, and we just weren’t sure where we would land. It is a little nerve-wracking,” MSU senior captain Brad Centala said. “First, we have to focus on the game on Sunday against either Virginia Tech or Air Force, but it’s exciting to know that we could be play a very familiar team in the next round.”
If the Spartans advance to the third round, they would take on the winner of the game between No. 10-seeded Western Michigan and Maryland/Albany winner.
The third round is slated for Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, while the quarterfinals will take place Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.
ESPNU will air the 2017 NCAA Men’s College Cup at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia, with semifinal games at 6 and 8:45 p.m. ET on Dec. 8 and the championship match slated for 1 p.m. on Dec. 10 on ESPN2.