Following a successful season that saw a MSU-record 14 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight, the men's soccer team announced their 2014 schedule on Wednesday.
The Spartans will face eight teams that posted a winning record last season, including both of 2013's national finalists and a total of six teams that played in the NCAA tournament.
"We are really excited about the 2014 schedule," MSU soccer head coach Damon Rensing said in a statement. "Once again it will rank up there as one of the toughest in the country. Anytime you play at both the defending national champion and the national runner-up, you have a challenging schedule. The very tough non-conference schedule will certainly prepare us for the Big Ten Conference season, which is always one of, if not the best conference in the country."
The 2014 season will commence with two exhibition games, the first at IPFW Aug. 21 and the second at home against Stevens Institute of Technology — coached by Rensing's brother Devin— on Aug. 24.
MSU hosts SMU on Aug. 29 for their regular season opener, a matchup Rensing anticipates will garner a healthy fan base.
"The home schedule will be very exciting," he said. "Playing at DeMartin Stadium is special for our guys. One match that I think our fans and Red Cedar Rowdies will enjoy, will be kicking off the home regular season against perennial power SMU right before the football opener against Jacksonville State."
On September 19, the Spartans will open Big Ten season against national championship runner-up Maryland. The game marks Maryland's first Big Ten home game, as Maryland and Rutgers will transfer from the ACC on July 1. The Terrapins were both the regular season and tournament champions in the ACC, finishing the 2013 season with a 17-4-5 record.
The Spartans will welcome Rutgers, also new to the Big Ten, for a home game on Sept. 28.
"We are excited and proud to welcome Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference," Rensing said. "Both programs will add another level of difficulty and excitement to the conference."
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