After a promising start for Michigan State at the national championships in Phoenix, non-stop rain made fields unplayable as the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) made the decision to cancel the remainder of the tournament.
The Spartans were 2-0 in group play on Thursday, then games were postponed and eventually canceled on Friday. On Saturday, NIRSA officials determined the round of 16 was to be decided by penalty kicks, and quarterfinals and semifinals to be played with two 25-minute halves, followed by finals. NIRSA again deemed the fields unplayable and canceled the tournament. Photos of the fields with standing water were posted to NIRSA’s Instagram account on Saturday.
Head coach Scott Dane said his team was disappointed with the outcome.
“Our team was extremely frustrated by the circumstances. We had built a roster that was worthy of defending the national championship,” said Dane. “We have guys who have experienced last year’s triumph and a number of guys who were hungry to be a part of a national championship.
The team finished with its highest winning percentage in program history at 13-1-2, allowing only four goals the entire season. And according to Dane, they were playing at the top of their game.
“We were playing our best soccer and we were extremely confident in our ability to play with any team in the country. We had an extreme sense of confidence after our dominating win against a very good Cal Poly team. It was unfortunate that the tournament was canceled.”
The 2014 National Championships will be in Memphis, Tenn., the same place the Spartans won the title a year ago.
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: MSU Club Soccer