The No. 19-ranked men’s soccer team (9-4-4 overall , 3-2-2 Big Ten ) is preparing to play the No. 2-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (11-2-4 overall , 3-2-2 Big Ten ) Wednesday night in what will be the team’s last regular season game this year.
“I think for us (this game against Indiana) is just about getting on track a little bit,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “(Indiana has) the combination of some very good talent, and (they are) a hard-working team. That’s why they’re ranked so high.”
This game has major implications on the rest of the Spartans’ season, as a win would no doubt secure the team a place in the NCAA Tournament and would likely guarantee the team a home game in the Big Ten Tournament. A loss and the team would likely be playing its Big Ten Tournament games on the road and would potentially need a win or two to earn an NCAA Tournament selection.
“If we can go and get three points on the road and put ourselves in a good position to get one of those top four spots (in the Big Ten standings), it would be awesome to play another game at DeMartin,” redshirt senior forward and midfielder Tim Kreutz said. “You always like to sleep in your own bed so it would be nice to have a home game.”
To further echo the implications of Wednesday’s game against the Hoosiers on the rest of the team’s season, senior midfielder Fatai Alashe shared his thoughts on the gravity of the showdown.
“(The game against Indiana) is big. It has big implications for the NCAA Tournament as well as the Big Ten Tournament,” Alashe said. “(We) are trying to be able to host a game (at DeMartin) so we don’t have to travel (this) weekend. That’s obviously important, because traveling is tough on your legs.”
The No. 2-ranked Hoosiers are led on offense by sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson and junior forward and midfielder Femi Hollinger-Janzen , who both lead the team with 12 total points coincidently both on five goals and two assists.
“Tanner (Thompson) is one of the best players in the league, or he’s having one of those years where he’s one of the best players in the league,” Rensing said.
MSU and Indiana are tied in the Big Ten standing so both teams need the win. Spartans redshirt senior defender Ryan Keener is looking to get the team’s defense back on track after giving up three goals to Michigan this past Sunday.
“We have to play very good defensively as a team overall,” Keener said. “If you give the ball away, if you’re carless on the ball, (Indiana) will make you defend for 45 (minutes) straight, 90 straight.”