Sunday, April 21, 2024

Kickers to begin postseason play

November 9, 2000
Freshman forward Thomas Trivelloni defends the ball against Western Michigan during the men —

The MSU men’s soccer team enters today’s Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed, facing No. 7-seeded Northwestern at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Field at 2:30 p.m.

Freshman midfielder John Minagawa-Webster said the team has worked all season for the No. 2 seed, but it has to continue its hard work since the tournament is single-game elimination.

“That’s what we worked for, to get into this spot to play a team like this,” Minagawa-Webster said. “But it’s not going to be easy just because we have to play this team.”

Even though MSU (10-5-2) achieved its goal of earning a high seed in the tournament, head coach Joe Baum worries his team may be a bit complacent since it beat the Wildcats (0-16-1) 6-2 on Nov. 1. The victory marked MSU’s largest margin of victory over a Big Ten opponent this season.

“That’s a concern of mine. It really is. I’m afraid my players might start thinking toward the second round,” Baum said. “It’s something we are going to try and deal with. I’m going to reiterate over and over that (losing) is very possible, the minute you look past somebody, you lose.”

Junior midfielder Steve Arce, who led the team with 10 points during the regular season, said there is a fundamental difference between confidence and complacency.

“You worry about being a little bit complacent,” Arce said. “You want to make sure that there’s a distinction between confidence and complacency, so we’re just (going to) try and go out hard and do the same thing we did to them the (previous) game and make sure we don’t come out soft.”

The Spartans enter the tournament coming off a tear during the latter half of the regular season - recording five wins and two ties in their final seven games.

Baum said he will stick with what has worked during the last seven games.

“At this point we’ve played the same for the second half of the season,” Baum said. “Same lineup, same style, same everything. There will be no changes. We’ve got fresh legs, (and) we’re excited about this tournament.

“We feel we can go down there and have a successful tournament. We just have to avoid a little first-round catastrophe by (not) looking past (Northwestern).

The game will also give Minigawa-Webster and the other freshmen a chance to get their feet wet in Big Ten Tournament play.

Freshman midfielder Jeffrey Krass said he is nervous for today’s game, but he thinks he will be able to turn his nerves into positive energy once the game gets going.

“It’s a big step up (in the level of play),” Krass said. “The biggest thing you need to do is make sure you come out and stick to what you do best.

“We’ve been playing good coming into this tournament, and if we just keep doing what we’re doing, and everyone comes out to play hard, I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.”


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