Three Spartans Earn Post-Season National Honors
Dec. 13, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. -- - Two Michigan State players have earned All-Great Lakes Region honors, as released earlier this week by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Kevin Cope (Canton, Mich.) was named to the second team, while forward Adam Montague (Sylvania, Ohio) was named to the third team. In addition, freshman Jay Chapman (Campbellford, Ontario) was named to the third team as College Soccer News released their Freshman All-America teams in late November.
The trio played a large part in helping lead an impressive late-season surge for the Spartans, who were one win away from a Big Ten Regular-Season championship and captured the Big Ten Tournament title with an emotional 2-1 win over archrival Michigan in the final. With the Big Ten's automatic bid, Michigan State hosted an NCAA Tournament game for the second time in three seasons, and downed Cleveland State 2-1. MSU's season came to an end with a loss to overall No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the second round.
Along the way, Michigan State went toe-to-toe with some of the top teams in the nation, playing Connecticut (No. 1), Akron (No. 2), Notre Dame (No. 3), as well as then-undefeated Marquette (No. 17), Indiana (No. 15) and No. 18 Northwestern during the regular season. The Spartans defeated eventual National Champion Indiana in both the regular season (3-1) and in the Big Ten Tournament (2-1).
"I am happy for Kevin, Adam, and Jay," said head coach Damon Rensing, who has brought his team to the NCAA Tournament in three of the four years of his head coaching tenure. "When individuals win these awards, the team as a whole deserves credit. The success of our team at the end of the year certainly helped lead to these individual honors.
"Hopefully these three guys - along with the rest of the team - will use the success that we enjoyed this season to set and achieve bigger goals next year."
Cope is one of the steadiest defenders in the Big Ten, and earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors in November. Cope played in a career-high 23 games after missing the previous season with injury, and had one assist. He helped anchor a defense that had a goaltending change mid-season, and lost both its starting outside backs before the end of September.
" Kevin showed this year why he is not only one of the best Center backs in the Big Ten, but in the country," added Rensing. "Part of Kevin's success is his athletic and soccer talents. But what really separates Kevin is his ability to communicate and lead on and off the field."
Montague earned third team honors, and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection earlier this fall. The sophomore overcame a slow start (two goals, six points through September) to post a team-best eight goals and 22 points on the season, which included scoring in each of the three Big Ten Tournament games. Montague was the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten overall, (0.96 ppg) and in Big Ten Conference games (2-3-7, 1.17 gpg).
" Adam was a Freshman All-American last year," pointed out his head coach. "We wanted him to work toward being a top forward in the country, regardless of his class year. He certainly moved in that direction, scoring a goal in every game in the Big Ten Tournament and the First round of the NCAA tournament. There was a direct correlation between his personal performance and our success down the stretch."
Chapman also had a bit of a slow start in terms of numbers, but finished the season as the second-leading goal scorer for MSU (four goals) and had nine points. Chapman missed three games with injury, but started all 20 of the games in which he appeared. He had the team's only hat trick on the season, netting all three goals in an upset of No. 16 Indiana in late October.
" Jay came to MSU as a highly touted freshman. What I was most impressed with when it came to Jay is that he got better as the season went on and improved on his weaknesses as a player," shared Rensing. When Jay combined those improvements with his talents, he proved why he is one of the best freshmen in the country. "
Despite a 3-6-1 start to the season, the Spartans went on a late-season run to finish 12-10-1, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons.
at the official