Nov. 24, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State men's soccer team will host Horizon League foe UIC in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Tuesday (Nov. 25) at 1 p.m. EST at DeMartin Stadium. MSU received a bye in the first round while the Flames advanced by Dayton on penalty kicks.
The Spartans, 13-5-1, are making their 12th NCAA tournament appearance and fourth since 2001.
Tuesday's match will mark the second meeting of the season between the two teams as the Spartans downed the Flames, 3-1, in East Lansing on Oct. 15. The win over UIC marked the last time MSU allowed a goal this season.
Tickets for Tuesday's game are $10 for adults and $5 for students, kids and seniors and are available at the main entrance of DeMartin Stadium behind Jenison Field House.
THE OPENER: The Spartans received an automatic bid to this year's NCAA Championship after defeating Indiana in the Big Ten Championship final. As a result, MSU received its highest seed ever - No. 4 - in this year's NCAA Championship. The Spartans are making their 12th tournament appearance in program history which is the second most in the Big Ten.
The Spartans enter Tuesday's game with an 8-0-1 record in their last nine games. MSU defeated UIC earlier this season, 3-1, and is 12-4-2 all time against the Flames. The Spartans have now made the NCAA Tournament four times since 2001.
Champs x 2: The Spartans swept the Big Ten titles this season - winning the regular season championship with a 5-1 record and then riding a pair of 1-0 victories over Northwestern and Indiana, respectively, to a the conference tournament championship. The last team to win both the conference regular season and tournament championships was Indiana in 2006.
The Spartans' Big Ten regular-season championship was the first in program history while the tournament title was their second, with the last coming in 2004.
Scouting the Flames: While the Spartans and Flames did meet once earlier this season, they also have three common opponents in Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Ohio State. UIC defeated Wisconsin and tied both OSU and Notre Dame. MSU also downed the Badgers, but fell on the road to Notre Dame and Ohio State.
What a Streak: The Spartans are undefeated in their last nine matches at 8-0-1. What's more impressive is that they have outscored their opponents by a count of 15-1 over that span. The last goal MSU surrendered was a penalty kick on Oct. 15 against UIC. In fact, MSU's defense hasn't allowed a goal in the flow of play since Oct. 8 vs. Notre Dame.
Big Recognition: For the first time in school history, the Spartans had four players selected to the All-Big Ten first team. Seniors Doug DeMartin, Zac Scaffidi, and Dave Hertel along with sophomore goalkeeper Avery Steinlage all earned first-team honors. Prior to this year, the most Spartans to earn first team all-conference honors was three in 2003.
In the Polls: The Spartans are currently ranked No. 9 in the final NSCAA/adidas Top-25 regular-season poll (Nov. 18). They ended the regular season ranked No. 8 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com poll (Nov. 17).
Player of the Year: DeMartin earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors this year and was the first Spartan to do so since Reid Friedrichs in 1996.
DeMartin also became the first Spartan in program history to earn ESPN The Magazine first team Academic All-America honors.
Tough Competition: The Spartans went 6-2 against ranked opponents this season. Seven of the opponents on the Spartans' schedule this season (Northwestern, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, UC-Davis, Notre Dame and UIC) are competing in this year's NCAA Championship. MSU posted a 6-3 mark against those teams.
DeMartin Dominates: Senior Doug DeMartin led Big Ten this season from wire-to-wire in goals (17) and points (37). During the Spartans' nine game unbeaten streak, he has outscored MSU opponents 6-1. He is currently tied for third in the nation in goals and tied for fifth in points.
DeMartin's 38 career goals and 85 career points both rank fifth on MSU's all-time list. The Mason native's 17 goals this season are the most by a Spartan since Tony Keyes registered 28 tallies in 1968.
The Streak Continues...: Sophomore goalkeeper Avery Steinlage has not allowed a goal in 695:03 of action - a span that stretches over seven games. The only goal he surrendered in the last seven matches was a penalty kick vs. UIC. Steinlage ranks second in the NCAA in save percentage (.919) and eighth in the nation in saves with 91. His nine shutouts this season already place him in a tie for ninth on the MSU career-shutout list.
Since taking over in goal vs. Buffalo on Sept. 12, he has led MSU to a 12-2-1 record.