MSU Hosts WMU in Sweet 16 Matchup
The Spartans take on the Broncos on Saturday.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Seventh-seeded Michigan State men’s soccer (12-3-3, 5-0-3 B1G) will host the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m., taking on 10th-seeded Western Michigan (17-3-1, 5-0-0 MAC). The Broncos defeated Albany 2-0 in the second round on Nov. 19 after a first round bye. This is MSU’s first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2014.
MSU Notes vs. WMU
This is the second-straight season that the Spartans have hosted an NCAA Tournament game. Last season in the first round, SIU Edwardsville advanced 9-8 on penalty kicks. The teams battled to a 1-1 tie in double overtime, before the Cougars edged the Spartans in the penalty kick round.
The last time that the Spartans were a seeded team playing at home was 2014 when MSU reached the Elite Eight. That season, MSU was the overall No. 3 seed.
BIG TIME, BIG TEN
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 earned a berth. Maryland ended its season after Albany advanced, 0-0 in double overtime on Nov. 16. Wisconsin moved on to the second round with a 4-1 win over Illinois-Chicago. Indiana moved on to the third round with a 3-0 win over OId Dominion in Bloomington. Wisconsin also advanced with a 1-0 win over Notre Dame on the road. Michigan ended its season after a 3-2 loss to Colgate in Ann Arbor.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
In MSU’s NCAA second round with over Virginia Tech, senior midfielder Ken Krolicki was a part of all the action. Krolicki had an assist in Ryan Sierakowski, DeJuan Jones and Michael Pimlott’s goals that led MSU to the third round. Krolicki now has four assists this season.
Michigan State was happy to welcome back junior defender Connor Corrigan, who missed three games after getting injured in the Spartans win over Penn State on Oct. 14. Corrigan returned against Virginia Tech. The junior started and played 75 minutes against the Hokies, taking three corner kicks.
MSU’s five B1G wins ties a school record for most conference wins, matching the 2008 squad. The Spartans 5-0-3 record is the first time that Michigan State has got unbeaten in Big Ten action, finishing with a 5-0-3 record.
SCOUTING REPORT: WESTERN MICHIGAN
The Broncos are 17-3-1 overall this season heading into Saturday’s third-round match-up with the Spartans. Like Michigan State, Western received a first-round bye and defeated Albany, 2-0, Sunday afternoon in the second round, marking the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament win. Junior midfielder Kosti Moni got the Broncos on the board first, with a goal in the 39th minute off a backside finish with help from junior defender Ben Thornton and senior midfielder Brandon Bye. In the second half, Thornton sealed the win for WMU off a pass from Bye at the goal line. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Drew Shepherd earned his 13th clean sheet of the year, making two stops.
Western Michigan was undefeated in Mid-American Conference action this season, totaling five wins to claim the regular season conference title. In the MAC Championship Tournament, the No. 1-seeded Broncos defeated the No. 4 seed West Virginia, 1-0, in the semifinals to advance to the final match against Akron. The No. 2 seed defeated WMU 3-1 to earn the Conference Tournament Championship.
Bye leads the Bronco offense as the 2017 MAC Player of the Year, earning the first honor of its kind for Western Michigan. The senior midfielder has 31 points coming from 12 goals and seven assists. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Drew Shepherd has started in 19 games for the Broncos and owns a 0.66 GAA, collecting 13 shutouts. A program-record eight Broncos were recognized as All-MAC, five of which earned a spot on the first team.
Michigan State and Western Michigan have met once already in the regular season on Oct. 4 in Kalamazoo, with the Spartans coming out on top, 1-0. Junior forward Ryan Sierakowski netted MSU’s gamewinning goal in the 50th minute off a pass from junior defender Connor Corrigan. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague earned his eighth shutout of the season, making two saves.
The win at Western Michigan improved Michigan State to 33-2-8 overall against the Broncos.
MAKING YOUR MARK
Michigan State redshirt-junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague has made quite an impact in his two season’s starting in net. Hague has a 0.71 goals against average during his career, which places him third all-time in MSU history behind Kevin O’Connell (0.47, 1966) and Hall of Famer Joe Baum (0.68, 1967-68). Hague is sixth in shutouts with 17. Zach Bennett (2012-15) is the all-time leader in shutouts at MSU with 35.
MSU head coach Damon Rensing reached a coaching milestone. With the win against Penn State on Oct. 14, the Spartan leader reached 100 career wins. Overall, he is now 102-61-25 at MSU.
Due in part to the amazing student section known as the Red Cedar Rowdies, Michigan State is an impressive 15-1-4 in its last 20 games at DeMartin Stadium. Last season, MSU set a school-record with most wins at home going 9-0-2. In 2017, the Spartans were 5-0-2 at home during the regular season. Michigan State suffered its first loss at home in the Big Ten Tournament against Ohio State on Nov. 5. Prior to the OSU loss, the Spartans last loss at DeMartin was against Indiana on Nov. 4, 2015.
CENTALA AND FISCUS EARN ACADEMIC HONORS
Michigan State men’s soccer players Jimmy Fiscus and Brad Centala were named first-team Academic All-District Team. Both were recognized as a part of NCAA Division I District 5 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
This is the second-straight season that MSU has had a pair of players on the first-team all-district list. Last season, Centala and Andrew Herr were both honored. Both players went on to earn CoSIDA Academic All-American honors in 2016.
Fiscus, a native of Novi, Michigan, has earned a 3.85 GPA in supply chain management. This is the first Academic All-District honor for the senior defender. The senior is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Centala, a native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, earned his second-straight All-District honor with a 3.86 in kinesiology. He was also named to the first-team in 2016. Centala earned Academic All-Big Ten honors the last two seasons.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Junior forward Ryan Sierakowski and fellow junior forward DeJuan Jones are now tied in scoring with 19 points. Sierakowski has eight goals and three assists for 19 points. Jones has seven goals and five assists for 19 points. Sierakowski has scored at least 17 points in all three seasons in the Green and White, scoring 23 points last season.
Joe Baum: HALL OF FAMER
Former MSU soccer head coach and player Joe Baum was inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 29. Baum was a part of Michigan State soccer as a player, assistant coach and head coach for a combined 39 seasons. As a goalkeeper, he led MSU to back-to-back co-national championships. Later, he served as the head coach of the men’s program for 32 years and the women’s program for five years, compiling a combined 389 victories. Baum established himself as one of the titans of college soccer during his tenure with the Spartan men’s team. He finished his career with 320 victories, becoming just the second coach in Big Ten history to reach the 300-win plateau.
FANS IN THE STANDS
The Spartans are 13th in the nation in attendance, averaging 1,838 fans per home game. Three Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 12 in the nation with Maryland standing No. 2 (3,230), while Indiana is ninth (2,229).
For the second-time this season, Michigan State topped its DeMartin Stadium attendance record when 4,678 fans packed the stadium and a standing room only crowd watched No. 6 MSU battle to a 0-0 double overtime tie against No. 3 Maryland on Sept. 22. In the first night game of the season on Sept. 1, 3,515 fans filled DeMartin. The previous high was 3,175 last season when MSU defeated Michigan on Sept. 18, 2016.
BEST OF THE BEST
Michigan State is among the nation’s best in the latest NCAA statistics. MSU is fifth in the nation in shutout percentage (.611) and 10th in team goals against average (0.586). Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague is fourth in the nation in shutouts with 10 and 13th in goals against average (0.586). The junior forward Ryan Sierakowski is sixth in the nation in game-winning goals with five
In 18 games this season, the Spartans are 9-2 in games decided by one goal. Michigan State has won seven 1-0 games and defeated Rutgers, 2-1 on Sept. 8. Last season, the Spartans were an exceptional 10-3 in one-goal games, including four wins in 1-0 decisions. Last time out, Michigan State fell to Ohio State by a one-goal margin, 2-1.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Senior defender Jimmy Fiscus was one of 60 NCAA® men’s and women’s soccer student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate soccer. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
This season, the Spartans have three captains in senior Jimmy Fiscus, Brad Centala and Ryan Scott.
Sophomore Giuseppe Barone became the fourth member of the Barone family to don the Green and White last season. He joins current Spartan Hunter as well as former MSU players Mark (2008-11) Domenic (2008-12).