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Breaking down the Big Ten: Men's soccer

September 24, 2009

Record: 4-1-1

Key players: Junior goalkeeper Avery Steinlage (set NCAA-consecutive shutout record with 1,318 minutes, 26 seconds — has allowed only one goal), junior midfielder Jeff Ricondo (two goals, two assists, 10 shots), sophomore forward Domenic Barone (two goals, two assists, 14 shots)

Important Big Ten games: At Indiana (Oct. 18), Michigan (Oct. 25), at Northwestern (Nov. 7)

Conference outlook:

The MSU men’s soccer team had three rallying calls entering this season.

They want to win for first-year head coach Damon Rensing and for the team’s lone senior, Tim Granaderos.

But, maybe most of all, they want to show that winning both the Big Ten regular season championship and the Big Ten Tournament last season wasn’t a fluke.

Repeating last year’s success in one of the most competitive conferences in the country will be extremely difficult.

Losing six starters certainly doesn’t help the quest to repeat at conference champions under Rensing in his first year as head coach.

Six nonconference games should have the Spartans prepared for their conference slate, which starts on Sunday against Ohio State at DeMartin Stadium at Old College Field.

If the Spartans are going to come out on top of the Big Ten again this season, it will come down to whether or not they can put the ball into the back of the net.

So far MSU has shown they can shut down opponents, allowing only three goals thus far.

But the team’s ability to score against defensive-minded Big Ten opponents is yet to be seen.

The Spartans are a very young, talented team and Sunday’s conference opener will be the first time Rensing is able to field his ideal lineup, as injuries have already pestered several players.

So buckle up and get ready to watch this team grow.

They will certainly finish near the top of the Big Ten this year, and with losing only one starter at the end of the season, the MSU men’s soccer stock is on the rise.


Third place in Big Ten (3-2-1) record.

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