June 17, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State women's soccer coach Tom Saxton has announced his team's schedule for the 2013 season. MSU will play 11 of its 19 games at home, including five of its eight games prior to the always-challenging Big Ten schedule. The Spartans welcome back 13 letterwinners and bring in seven newcomers for the upcoming season.
"We are excited about our 2013 schedule, and I think it features one of our most-challenging non-league schedules ever assembled," said head coach Tom Saxton. "The early season games should provide a great opportunity for our young team to learn and grow in preparation for the incredible challenge of the Big Ten schedule."
Out of fall camp, the Spartans will play an exhibition game at Central Michigan on Aug. 18. MSU officially opens the season with a three-game homestand, beginning on Friday, Aug. 23 against Buffalo. Wisconsin-Milwaukee comes to town two days later (Aug. 25) to complete the weekend. Buffalo looks to improve on a 5-12-2 season in 2012 and returns eight starters; Milwaukee is coming off its 13th consecutive Horizon League regular-season title and made its fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance last fall. UWM returns seven starters.
MSU splits its next weekend of action, hosting San Diego State on Fri. Aug. 30 before its first road game of the season on Sept. 1 at Dayton. The Aztecs come to East Lansing after a 21-2-1 record in 2012, tied with Stanford for the best winning percentage last season. SDSU finished the season ranked seventh in the final NSCAA poll of 2012 and were third in the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), behind National Champion North Carolina (2) and Stanford (1). Dayton is coming off a 14-4-2 season and finished second in the Atlantic 10 a year ago.
The Spartans host in-state rival Oakland on Thursday, Sept. 5; the Grizzlies were the Summit League champions in 2012 with a 11-6-4 overall final record, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. MSU then heads west for a showdown at New Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 8 to face a Lobo team which enters the season with a school-record 13-match unbeaten streak at home. UNM went 11-7-2 in 2012, and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
September 13-15 is another home/road split for the Spartans, hosting Bowling Green on Friday the 13th. The Falcons struggled through a 1-17-1 season in 2012, but look for significant improvement under first-year head coach Lindsay Basalyga. On Sunday Sept. 15, MSU travels for its final non-conference game, playing in Ypsilanti at Eastern Michigan, which engineered the largest single-season turnaround in program history by finishing third in the MAC and posting an overall record of 11-6-2 and an 8-3-0 MAC mark in 2012.
The Spartans open Big Ten play on Thursday, Sept. 19 with a road trip to Nebraska, its lone game that week. Minnesota (Friday, Sept. 27) and Wisconsin (Sunday, Sept. 29) visit the following weekend, and a three-game homestand concludes with a home showdown against archrival Michigan on Thursday, Oct. 3. MSU has single-game weekends that follow, at Iowa (Sunday, Oct. 6) and at Ohio State (Saturday, Oct. 12). The Spartans host their final two-game weekend set on Friday Oct. 18 against Purdue and Sunday Oct. 20 against Indiana.
MSU takes to the road for games at Northwestern (Friday, Oct. 25) and Illinois (Sunday, Oct. 27) before hosting the final game of the regular season against reigning Big Ten champions Penn State on Friday, Nov. 1. The Spartans look to return to the Big Ten Tournament Nov. 6-10; Illinois serves as the host institution this season for the tournament.