Last season, Michigan State men’s soccer made a deep run into the College Cup. On the shoulders of several seniors and future MLS draftees, they pushed their way to the Final Four.
After taking down Illinois-Chicago, Louisville and James Madison, the Spartans met with the Akron Zips for the second time that season.
In an offensive surge from the Zips, they broke Michigan State’s Cup hopes with a 5-1 victory.
On Oct. 15, the Spartans (2-6-3) will meet with Akron (2-8-1) for the first time since their College Cup defeat, but the trip to Ohio won’t serve as a revenge tour for the green and white. They plan to prep for it just like any other big game.
“Honestly, we will circle it now, now that we are at that moment. I think it’s one of those games on the schedule we look at every year,” Head Coach Damon Rensing said, after a tie against No. 25 Maryland (6-3-2) on Oct. 11.
Both teams are riding significantly different starts to their seasons, compared to last seasons early - and late - success as they enter their Final Four rematch with two wins and rough starts.
Last year, Akron sat near the top of the Top 25 for a majority of the season. This year, Akron has won just two games so far, suffering eight defeats. Michigan State has seen success as of late but didn’t secure a win for the first seven games they played.
The Spartans are fresh off a mud-match draw against defending national champions No. 25 Maryland. They will look to capitalize on drawing the team that defeated Akron last year in the championship by watching film and heading down to Ohio.
“We’re gonna watch video. It’s another Final Four team, their record doesn’t quite indicate that, but we’ll get on a bus and go to Akron and do whatever we can to get a result,” Rensing said.
Michigan State will arrive in Akron on Tuesday Oct. 15 as they plan to show up and take home a result against an Akron team that has had their number their last couple meetings.
“That’s a game you want to show up at. It’s two good programs with history, so when Tuesday comes we’ll be excited to play,” Rensing said.