Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Soccer teams look to raise level of intensity this weekend

October 13, 2000

While the MSU men’s soccer team looks to get back on track in the Big Ten this weekend at Michigan, the women’s soccer team will look to use its two weekend Big Ten games as a selling point to the NCAA selection committee.

MSU head coach Tom Saxton said this weekend’s home games vs. Wisconsin at 4 p.m. Friday and Minnesota at 1 p.m. Sunday could improve the Spartans’ status in the Big Ten while making a case for the big dance.

“These are two teams that (could) put us higher in the Big Ten standings. In the NCAA’s selection committee’s eyes these are two quality opponents.”

In addition to making strides toward the tournament this weekend, the Spartans (12-2-1 overall, 4-2-1 Big Ten), have an opportunity to make a huge leap in the Big Ten standings by beating second-place Wisconsin (5-3 Big Ten) and seventh place Minnesota (4-3).

MSU also has hopes of having a historic season this year by topping the 1986 squad’s record of 15-4.

“We’re going to make history for our program if we keep working at it, getting some success and being opportunistic,” Saxton said. “We could kind of have a historic season and that would be a great way to send off our eight seniors.”

One of those seniors who has made some history of her own is senior goalkeeper Sara Kloosterman, who surpassed MSU’s all-time shutout record earlier this year. After adding to that record by shutting out U-M and Northwestern last weekend, Kloosterman was named Big Ten player of the week.

“It’s well deserved and I’m very pleased for her,” Saxton said. “She’s the all-time shutout leader and that’s over a pretty long tradition of the history of this program. She’s a very intense competitor and I think the main thing for her is to keep her psychological approach the same.”

With a 1-1-1 record in the conference, the MSU men’s soccer team is looking to use its in- state rival, U-M, as a spring board Sunday - launching them into position to take a top seed in the Big Ten tournament.

With only three Big Ten games remaining, MSU head coach Joe Baum said a win over U-M would help them in the Big Ten standings.

“We’re kind of in the middle of the pack (of the Big Ten),” Baum said. “We’re still alive and well, we’re are healthier than we’ve ever been and our confidence level is pretty good right now. I feel good about this team and what could happen.”

Although U-M is in its first season as a varsity program after winning the club championship the last two years, Baum feels the rivalry will still be in place.

“They (marketed) two games this year to promote their team,” Baum said. “The first was their first game of the year. They had radio adds and banners. And the other game they’re (marketing) is the Michigan State game. We sense it, we feel it, it will be a great rivalry.”

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