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Goals-against streak continues for Steinlage

September 13, 2009

Junior goalie Avery Steinlage jumps to make a save during the game against Dusquesne, Sept. 4. Steinlage led the NCAA with his save percentage of 0.925 and was named the Defensive Player of the Big Ten Championship in 2008.

Ann Arbor — Junior goalkeeper Avery Steinlage could have lain down and taken a nap, jumped online to talk to friends or caught up on homework in the first half of the Spartans’ 4-0 victory against Wright State on Sunday.

The Raiders only were able to muster one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes of play and the shot didn’t pose much of a threat to Steinlage.

His 76 minutes between the woodwork Sunday, coupled with the 90 minutes in Friday’s 2-0 victory against Lipscomb, have upped his consecutive shutout streak to 1,165 minutes, 8 seconds — shattering the former record of 974 minutes, 20 seconds previously held by Loyola’s Milos Kocic.

And with the Spartan defense playing rock-solid, things have been pretty easy on Steinlage so far this season.

“Today’s game was a little slow,” Steinlage said.

“The guys in front of me have played great. They are knocking the ball around and we were possessing it the entire game.”

On Sunday, the Spartan defensive line had a different look than it has had in previous games.

Junior defender Colin Givens injured his hamstring in Friday’s game and was replaced by sophomore Stephen Lucianek. Senior defender Tim Granaderos and junior defender Jake Fullerton swapped sides on the outside of the defense.

But no matter who is part of the back line or where they’re playing, the MSU defense has given Steinlage the opportunity to add to his streak.

“Today really was the back four in front of Avery who deserve credit,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.

“That helped him keep that streak and he didn’t have to make too many saves. I like our chances as long as that streak keeps going. But I think since we are right in the middle of it. We are so worried about just tryinbg to win games and if it ever ends we are going to look back and realize how special the record really is.”

Last year, Steinlage led the NCAA with a .925 save percentage and was the Defensive Player of the Big Ten Championship.

Steinlage said he’s trying not to get too caught up in the streak, and just focusing on doing what he does best – keeping the ball out of the net.

“I go out there everyday and try to do the same thing,” he said. “Even if someone scores on me, I’m going to go back out there and start trying at another streak.”

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