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Spartans looking for playback

September 24, 2009

Despite last season’s successes, none of the players on the No. 22 MSU men’s soccer team ever have beaten Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have defeated the Spartans in their last four attempts, with MSU’s last win dating back to Oct. 9, 2005.

No. 26 Ohio State also was the only Big Ten team to defeat MSU last season, as the Spartans pulled off five-straight conference wins after losing 1-0 in Columbus, Ohio.

“We want to get them back for beating us last year,” sophomore forward Domenic Barone said.

“They are going to be a lot like they were last season — playing hard-nosed soccer and playing really well defensively.”

The matchup will be the first conference game for the Spartans, as they try to defend their Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

The Buckeyes are unbeaten this year, going 4-0-3 through their nonconference schedule.

Junior defender Colin Givens said the Spartans are expecting a physical game.

“Size wise, they are a little bigger than us,” Givens said. “But I think we can play a little better soccer than them. We are a little more technical. If we play to our strong areas I don’t see us having a problem.”

The Spartans (4-1-1) unbeaten streak came to an end on Sunday when they fell to San Diego 2-0.

Although junior midfielder Jeff Ricondo said the Toreros played a similar style to Big Ten teams, he said nothing compares to the conference’s intensity.

“Big Ten games tend to get chippy and physical and we saw that when we played San Diego,” Ricondo said. “Basically we just have to be ready for an all-out war.”

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Healin’ up

Both Givens and junior midfielder Nosa Iyoha are expected to play Sunday — meaning all the team’s starters will all be on the field together for the first time this season.

Givens suffered a pulled hamstring this summer, which he re-aggravated on Sept. 11 against Lipscomb.

He was cleared to play last Sunday against San Diego, but opted to give his hamstring more time to rest.

Iyoha injured his knee in the offseason and has missed four of the Spartans six games this season.

MSU head coach Damon Rensing said both players are valuable leaders on the field and their return will be a big boost to the team.

TV stars

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Givens said with the game on the Big Ten Network this weekend, the Spartans can set the tone to other teams watching the game.

“We want to send a message, not just throughout the Big Ten, but throughout the country,” he said.
“We are a really good team and we are prepared to go against anyone,” Givens said.

“It’s a big step in our season to go in the right direction if we come out and play well. We want everyone to realize we are a force to be reckoned with.”


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