Destiny is defined as “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future,” according to Oxford Dictionaries. Heading into the Elite Eight, the men’s soccer team appears to be a team of destiny — and that destiny is winning a national championship.
The Spartans seem to have everything going their way, and even when it isn’t, they still find a way to win and move on.
On Oct. 22, MSU played the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and after a mostly scoreless game, the Golden Grizzlies jumped on MSU, scoring two late goals and defeating the Spartans 2-0.
As fate would have it for the Spartans, they faced Oakland again in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after the Golden Grizzlies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 2-0 in the first round.
On Nov. 23, MSU had its revenge, defeating the Golden Grizzlies 1-0 and moving on to the Sweet Sixteen.
On Aug. 21, the Spartans lost to the Washington Huskies in an exhibition matchup, 1-0. In another quirky twist of fate, the Spartans played the Huskies this past Sunday in the Sweet Sixteen.
After a scoreless first half, the Huskies took a 1-0 lead at the 65:12 mark, and with plenty of time left on the clock the 1-0 lead was not a back breaker. However, at the 72:55 mark, the Huskies scored again, taking a 2-0 lead. Down 2-0 with about 17 minutes to play, it seemed as if MSU’s season would be coming to an end. But with about 15 minutes to play, MSU got on the board with an own goal by the Huskies defense.
With under three minutes remaining in the game, time was running out for the Spartans. But the team rose up and equalized, eventually going on to win in penalty kicks.
Heading into the Elite Eight, the Spartans have watched the other favorite in their side of the bracket — the No. 6-seeded Stanford Cardinals— were upset by UC-Irvine.
Another interesting factor in MSU’s tournament run is the Virginia Cavaliers’ upset of the No. 1-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish. MSU was defeated by the Irish in the tournament in 2012 and 2013. As fate would have it, the Spartans didn’t draw Notre Dame on their side of the bracket this year and wouldn’t have had to play the Irish until the championship, if both teams have made it that far.
Exercising revenge in a tournament matchup, coming from behind in a thrilling fashion, and upsetting several favorites in the tournament including Notre Dame have cleared the path for MSU to go to the championship. Only time will tell if the Spartans are truly a team of destiny, but the odds are in their favor.