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Road remains tough for MSU

October 15, 2009


The MSU men’s soccer team is halfway through its conference schedule and still hasn’t been able to get in the win column.

But the team has been extremely close.

The Spartans have lost all their conference games by one goal and have had plenty of chances to score the equalizers.

“The stats don’t show how good we’ve actually been playing,” sophomore forward Rubin Bega said. “Even in the losses, we’ve been playing really good as a team. It’s going to come together for us.”

Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, in which the team won the Big Ten regular season title and the Big Ten Tournament championship, junior midfielder Jeff Ricondo said the Spartans just can’t seem to get a bounce to go their way.

“Nothing is really going our way this year,” Ricondo said. “I don’t know if everything went our way last year, and it’s not our year this year.”

The loss last Sunday against Wisconsin especially was tough for the team, as they carried play most of the game and generated more scoring chances than the Badgers before losing 2-1 in double overtime.

“That was a tough loss for the team,” Bega said. “I thought we deserved to win more than they did. We created more chances and had more of the ball.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans this weekend, as they travel to Indiana to play the Hoosiers, who are a perfect 2-0 in the Big Ten and haven’t allowed a goal in conference play.

The Spartans (6-4-1 overall, 0-3-0 Big Ten) only have scored one goal in conference action and MSU head coach Damon Rensing said he’s going to dig deeper into this bench this weekend.

“We are going to try to keep people a little more fresh,” Rensing said. “You need energy or activity to create chances. “Maybe guys have played too many minutes and have started to fade. Using our bench more might help create more chances.”

Last season, the Spartans defeated the Hoosiers twice, becoming only the third team to defeat the Hoosiers twice in one season.

“It’s a difficult place to come play and it’s a hyped atmosphere” senior defenseman Tim Granaderos said. “We were fortunate enough to beat them twice in one season last year and not many teams get to say that.”

Fresh legs

For the first time during conference season, the Spartans didn’t have a midweek game between Big Ten matchups, typically saved for nonconference foe.

And coming off Sunday’s marathon of a match that went into the 104th minute, Ricondo said the extra rest will benefit the team.

“At this point, I think it’s a good thing after playing how we did on Sunday,” Ricondo said. “It was a tough game. Midweek games keep our heads in it during the week, but I think our bodies need the break this week.”

The Spartans have used the extra time to scout Indiana.

“Just to have a break where we can focus the whole week to prepare for our Sunday game, I think it’s good for us,” Granaderos said.

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