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COLUMN — Men's soccer has done more than enough to qualify for NCAA berth

November 16, 2014

As the men's soccer team (11-4-5 overall, 4-2-2 Big Ten) recovers from its tough Big Ten Tournament semifinals loss to the Maryland Terrapins on Friday, the team must think about what's to come. Neither team was able to score through 110 minutes of play on Friday, sending the game to penalty kicks where MSU would lose 3-2 in a five round setup. 

Next is Monday's NCAA Tournament selection show. At 1 p.m, 48 teams will be picked in the Division I Men's Soccer Selection Announcement. It is not a guarantee that the Spartans will be selected but it's safe to assume the team has done enough to earn a selection.

The team has compiled a 6-2-2 record at home and a 5-2-3 record on the road. The team has 11 wins total, including a four game winning streak lasting from Oct. 7 to Oct. 18. The Big Ten, arguably the best conference in men's soccer, has six teams in the top 25 of the NCAA Men's Soccer RPI and four teams in the NSCAA Coaches poll

The Spartans are currently ranked No. 7 in the RPI and No. 12 in the Coaches poll. Their performance this season should surely earn them a tournament selection.

The team has a 0-0 tie with then No. 23-ranked Illinois Chicago Flames on Sept. 6. The Spartans have a 1-0 win over eventual Big Ten regular season and Tournament champion Maryland on Sept. 19.

The team has two wins over conference opponent Penn State. The Spartans' first win over the Nittany Lions was a 2-0 win over a then No. 12-ranked Penn State team on Oct. 18. The second win was a 1-0 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament over a then No. 23-ranked PSU team. 

The Spartans also have a 1-1 draw with the then No. 25-ranked Northwestern Wildcats on Oct. 26. Another quality performance on MSU's resume is a 1-1 tie with the then No. 5-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Oct. 29. MSU also concluded the regular season with a 3-2 win over the then No. 2-ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Nov. 5.

With the No. 6 ranked shutout percentage and the No. 14 ranked goals against average, the Spartans have had a few rough stretches this season but all in all look like a team built to make a deep tournament run, and their resume no doubt should give them an opportunity to make that run. 

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