Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Preview: Biggest game of MSU's men's soccer season on the clock, Big Bear Trophy on the line

October 4, 2021
<p>Redshirt junior defender Will Perkins kicking the ball downfield. </p>

Redshirt junior defender Will Perkins kicking the ball downfield.

Photo by Tyler Smith | The State News

Tuesday night brings the biggest game to date in Michigan State men's soccer's current season – they will be going head-to-head with the University of Michigan in a nasty rivalry battle for the Big Bear Trophy.

Last time out, the Spartans – who are now 4-5-1 overall, 0-2-1 in Big Ten play – fell 1-0 in a last-minute, homecoming weekend heartbreaker against Penn State. The trajectory of the game and the atmosphere of the crowd had plummeted when MSU sophomore midfielder Jack Zugay was red carded and immediately dismissed from competition in the 56th minute, sending MSU down a man.

Friday night was the second consecutive game that MSU hasn't gotten anything out of. While the guys and Michigan State Head Coach Damon Rensing are frustrated to no avail, Rensing said that soccer is always a test and things won't always go the way you map them out. Their main goal now is to stick together and get ready, because there is, "no time to cry or feel sorry for ourselves," Rensing said.

A new green and white star to keep an eye on, other than the obvious four captains who continue to keep showing up and out is redshirt freshman defender Chase Inscho.

Inscho, a native of Rochester, Michigan, was a class of 2020 recruit from Vardar Academy. He was captain of Vardar for three years and, during the 2017-18 season, he advanced to the U17 Academy Playoffs.

He only saw action in two games his freshman year before he was injured and the COVID-19 pandemic overrode. This year, he's working his way up the ranks and becoming a prominent face on the starting roster for MSU.

Another star can be found in senior midfielder Louis Sala.

Sala, a native of West Bloomfield, Michigan, transferred to MSU after playing his first two collegiate seasons at Northern Illinois. In his NIU career, he played in 36 games total.

Last season, he was one of seven players to appear in all seven of the games and he was one of four players to record at least one goal and one assist.

The Wolverines, who are 5-4-1 overall, 2-1-0 in Big Ten play, last time out ended in a 2-1 electric overtime victory against Indiana when U-M senior forward Derick Broche scored their much-needed golden goal off a throw-in and pass from teammates Declan Gaffney and Evan Rasmussen. This was not only the first win over the Hoosiers since their 2013 campaign, but also the third overtime contest in the two squads last four meetings.

Some stars for the maize and blue other than Rasmussen and Broche are graduate defender Umar Farouk Osman and freshman goalkeeper Hayden Evans.

Osman collected one assist and one shot each in the win against Indiana, while Evans made seven monster saves to protect their net and keep the Hoosiers at one goal.

Kickoff between in-state rivals U-M and MSU is slated for 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

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