Spartans Face Notre Dame in NCAA Elite Eight
Dec. 5, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 11th-seeded Michigan State men’s soccer team (14-5-3) will head to South Bend, Ind., for a rematch against third-seeded Notre Dame (14-1-6) in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
SPARTANS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
MSU owns an all-time tournament record of 22-10-5, including 3-0 in the Round of Eight. The team has made four appearances in the National Championship games, including two Co-National Championship titles in program history (1967 and 1968).
TESTING THE LUCK OF THE IRISH
In the rankings, Notre Dame is No. 1 in the SoccerTimes.com poll, third in the official NSCAA poll, the NCAA RPI Rankings and by TopDrawerSoccer.com, as well as No. 4 in the College Soccer News poll, by Soccer America and by College Sports Madness.
In his 13th season as head coach, Booby Clark owns a 166-69-41 record and returned 12 letterwinners from the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament Championship squad that finished 17-4-1 overall with a 5-2-1 record in its final year in the BIG EAST. The Irish are led by Harrison Shipp (12-5-32), Patrick Hodan (8-5-21) and Vince Cicciarelli (6-1-13). In goal, Patrick Wall owns a 0.72 GAA with a .797 Sv%, playing the entirety of Notre Dame’s games this season.
IN THE RANKINGS
Michigan State is also ranked No. 8 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, 14th in the official NSCAA poll, 15th by College Sports Madness, No. 18 in the College Soccer News poll and No. 20 in the SoccerTimes.com poll. Regionally, the Spartans tied for third with Marquette in the final NSCAA Great Lakes poll.
The Spartans (3-2-1) finished third in the Big Ten standings. MSU leads the Big Ten in with 13 shutouts, fewest goals allowed (15), total saves (121) team goals against average (0.64), total assists (42) and assists per game (1.91). The Spartans also sit at second in total shots (346), and total points (108).
In the NCAA standings released on Dec. 1, MSU has the second-best save percentage (.890) in the nation. They are also tied for No. 4 in shutout percentage (.59), tied for seventh in total assists (42), sit at No. 9 with a .64 team goal against average, are No. 13 in assists per game (1.91) and tied for 20th with 5.50 saves per game. Also, of the Elite Eight teams, Michigan State owns the best team goals against average in the NCAA Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT
Though the Hoyas imposed pressure from the kickoff, forcing the Spartans to spread out defensively, a goal in the 28th minute from Adam Montague off a ball played in by Jay Chapman gave the Spartan defense all they needed to hold off the Georgetown attack. Stepping up in the net, Zach Bennett tallied seven saves on the day to improve his career total to 119, the fifth best in MSU history. He also earned his 16th career shutout, also placing him at No. 5 in the Spartan record books.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.The two-time captain has already made a huge impact on the pitch for the Spartans this season, despite missing five games. Recording one career goal prior to 2013, Cope has scored two goals and recorded two assists for MSU this season. As a member of the stout Spartan defense, he has helped Michigan State lead the Big Ten in fewest goals allowed with 15 and goals against average (0.64) and has played in nine of the Spartan’s 13 shutouts this season.
JOIN THE CHAIN
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
GOING THE DISTANCE
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL
Junior forward Adam Montague was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Oct. 7. Scoring his second game-winning goal in as many games, Montague bounced a header into the net in the final minute of double-overtime at Northwestern. Leading the team in shots this season, Montague sent in his seventh shot of the game off an assist from Brent McIntosh to fourth in the Big Ten with his third game-winning goal of the season.
His 3.40 shot per game average leads the conference and he is third with 0.40 assists per game. Montague recorded an assist in the team’s first Big Ten win of the season and the first road win over Northwestern since 2001. Though he was held to just three shots at Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday, he earned his second goal of the season with a shot off an assist from Jay Chapman to put the Spartans up 1-0 at Flames Field. For two-straight weeks, goalkeeper Zach Bennett was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week by the conference office on Sept. 16 and 23. Bennett’s then-career-high eight saves helped the Spartans to their second-straight shutout against Bowling Green with a 1-0 home win on Sept. 18.
With the help of his backline, he earned his third shutout in four games as the Spartans blanked Marquette on the road on Sept. 15. It marked the third weekly honor for the Plano, Texas, native who has played in every minute of the 2013 season. Bennett leads the conference with 13 shutouts (0.59 shutouts/game) with a 0.64 goals against average. He also sits at first with a .888 Sv%. Nationally, he owns the third-best save percentage in the country and is No. 13 with his 0.64 GAA. He is currently fifh in MSU history with 119 saves on the season.
THE ‘GOLDEN’ WIN
Adam Montague, also a team captain, was ranked sixth in the conference by TopDrawerSoccer.com’s heading into the 2013 season after posting a goal in every game of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. He is also No. 47 in the country on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s top-100.
In recognition of his stout defensive effort with the help of the rest of the Spartan backline to hold off the Georgetown offensive attack, Kevin Cope was placed on the College Soccer News Team of the Week on Dec. 2.
Earning his fourth game-winning goal, ninth overall, of the season in double-overtime against Louisville on Nov. 24, Tim Kreutz helped the Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 for the 10th time in school history. For his accomplishment, he was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week.
With an assist on the game-winning goal and helping shutout Louisville for 106 minutes, Kevin Cope was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week on Nov. 25.
After heading in the game-winning goal to defeat Northwestern 3-2 in double overtime, Adam Montague was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Oct. 7 and the College Soccer Madness Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 8. Playing a key role in the Spartans back-to-back road wins, he also put a rebound in the back of the net to top UIC, 2-0.
Receiving some well-deserved recognition, Fatai Alashe was named National Player of the Week on Oct. 1 by TopDrawerSoccer.com. With Kevin Cope currently out of the backline, midfielder/defender Fatai Alashe expanded his position on the field and lent his skills where the MSU needed them most. The veteran Spartan put Michigan State on the board with a goal at No. 3 Creighton on Sept. 24 and added an assist in the home victory over North Illinois on Sept. 28.
Following his first goal scored of the 2013 season in the Spartans’ shutout win over Northern Illinois, sophomore Jay Chapman was named Big Ten Player of the Week by College Soccer Madness on Oct. 1. He recorded five shots and a game-winning goal to put the Spartans on the board over the Huskies, and earned an assist in the 2-2 draw against No. 3 Creighton.
After recording his first career goal in his inaugural start as a Spartan, freshman Dewey Lewis was named Big Ten Player of the Week by College Soccer Madness on Sept. 2. Lewis stole the ball away from a Bronco defender and beat the keeper to earn an unassisted goal.
In his first start of the year, Kyle Rutz helped MSU kick off its final road match of the season at Indiana with a bang as he connected on a cross from Tim Kreutz to earn his first goal of the season off a header, just four minutes into the game. Rutz’s fourth career goal gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead and helped spark an eventual win over the Hoosiers.
En route to accomplishing a team goal of winning the state of Michigan, the Spartans scored a goal in the first 13 seconds of the game against Oakland. They went on to blank the Grizzlies, 3-0 to earn the seventh shutout this season.
As the Spartans earned a dramatic win over conference leader Northwestern on Oct. 6 in their first Big Ten game of the season, it also marked the first time that Michigan State has beaten the Wildcats in Evanston since 2001. The game was also the first double-overtime win for the Spartans since they defeated Indiana in Bloomington in 2009. The win propelled MSU to the top spot in the NCAA RPI rankings for the first time in program history.
In addition to Dewey Lewis’ first career goal scored against Western Michigan in his Spartan debut, redshirt senior Ryan Thelen scored his first career goal on Sept. 6 against Oregon State. The game-winning goal was scored off Thelen’s seventh corner kick of the game, hooked into the back right corner of the net to give the Spartans a 1-0 victory.
AT THE HELM
Kylie Stannard and Ben Pirmann serve as the Spartan assistants. Pirmann is also a former Spartan letterwinner, and previously served the program as the volunteer assistant before returning to his alma mater after a coaching stint at Western Michigan. Stannard is a graduate of Creighton, which reached the Elite Eight twice in his career and the semifinals once. Prior to coming to MSU, he was an assistant coach at Northern Illinois. Stannard and Pirmann have both served as the head coach of Detroit City FC, which plays in the National Premier Soccer League. Stannard made his debut in 2012, while Pirmann coached the team in 2013. Former MSU keeper Jeremy Clark, who played for MSU 2008-11, is now in his second season as the team’s volunteer coach.
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