Men’s Soccer Schedule Breakdown: Part 3 (Games 14-20)

Western Michigan University Broncos
Oct. 15
4 p.m.
DeMartin Stadium
 

Since 2000, the Spartans are 13-0-1 against the Broncos and are looking to maintain that streak in 2014.

The Broncos received two big transfers during the 2013 off season. Former Michigan State midfielder, junior Sean Conerty, and former Iowa Western Community College midfielder, junior Greg Timmer.

Conerty scored five goals for the Spartans in the two seasons he played in the green and white. Timmer scored three goals in two seasons with the Reivers, helped lead them to a NJCAA National Title in 2013 and was NSCAA Junior College Division I National Player of the Year in 2013.

Western Michigan will play two teams this regular season that made the NCAA Tournament last year: Michigan State University and Akron University.

Sophomore midfielder, Matheau Rogers, led the Broncos in scoring last year with four goals and returns to the team.

 

Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions
Oct. 18
7 p.m.
University Park, Pa.
 

After being crowned the 2013 Big Ten regular season champs and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament, the Nittany Lions are looking to find the same success in 2014.

With the team’s leading goal scorer from 2013, Jordan Tyler (five goals), transferring to Coastal Carolina University, and the loss of First Team All-Big Ten defender, Martin Seiler, to graduation, Penn State has not wasted any time in finding replacements.

The Nittany Lions’ received four transfers for the 2014 season. Two of the transfers come from Akron University, sophomore forward, Riley Grant, and sophomore defender, Brett Gravatt.

Both Grant and Gravatt appeared in 11 games for the Zips last season. Coming out of high school, Grant was rated as a four-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer, and Gravatt was rated as a three-star recruit.

The other two transfers come from the University of Virginia, junior midfielder, Brian James, and St. John’s University, junior midfielder, Brandon Savino.

James made 35 appearances for the Cavaliers in his two seasons, while Savino made 39 appearances with the Red Storm in two seasons.

The Spartans are 10-20-2 all-time and 7-12-1 since 2000 against the Nittany Lions.

 

Oakland University Golden Grizzlies
Oct. 22
7 p.m.
Rochester, Mich.
 

After spending 15 years in the Summit League and winning three conference tournaments (2002, 2007 and 2010), the Golden Grizzlies packed up and moved to the Horizon League in 2013.

In their first year in the Horizon League, Oakland went 7-7-5, lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament to future winner, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and missed the NCAA Tournament.

This season will be the 33rd time that the Spartans and Golden Grizzlies will meet as Michigan State looks to beat Oakland for the third time in a row.

The Golden Grizzlies have been the more successful team in this matchup, going 20-9-3 all-time against Michigan State and 7-6-3 since 2000.

This season Oakland will play three teams, including Michigan State, that made the NCAA Tournament last year: Pennsylvania State University, University of Denver and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Senior forward, Joey Tinnion, will be back for the Golden Grizzlies. Tinnion led the team in scoring in 2013 with seven goals.

 

Northwestern University Wildcats
Oct. 26
1 p.m.
DeMartin Stadium
 

For a Northwestern team that has made the Elite Eight twice in the past 10 years and gone 133-112-35 since 2000, the Wildcats all-time record (6-30-3) against the Spartans has been less than stellar.

Since 2000, the Spartans have gone 12-4-2 against the Wildcats and outscored them 22-14.

The Wildcats will begin the 2014 season in New Jersey, play two home games and then head west to California before they begin conference play.

While in California, Northwestern will play the University of California Santa Barbara, who were 12-6-3 last season, made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished No. 17 in the country in the final NCAA rankings.

Senior midfielder, Chris Ritter, is gone for the Wildcats after signing with the Chicago Fire as a homegrown player. Ritter had five goals last season.

Junior forward, Joey Calistri, returns for the Wildcats this season. Calistri was the leading goal scorer for the Wildcats and No. 13 in the nation in scoring in 2013.

 

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Oct. 29
7 p.m.
South Bend, Ind.
 

It was quite a season for the Fighting Irish in 2013 after going 17-1-6 and winning the National Championship, 2-1, against the University of Maryland at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

Since 2002, Notre Dame have gone 162-63-34, which puts them behind the University of Maryland (211-51-20) and Akron University (196-41-31) for best records since 2002 that the Spartans will play this year.

The Spartans have struggled against the Fighting Irish going 6-16-5 all-time, but they have had the upper hand at home going 5-4-4. This year however, Spartans are on the road where Michigan State has gone 1-12-1 and their only win in South Bend came in 2010, 2-0.

Since 2000, Michigan State has also been outscored 20-6 by Notre Dame, but this year may be in the Spartans favor because of the tough schedule that the Fighting Irish have to endure before they play the Spartans.

The Fighting Irish will play 16 regular season games in which 10 will be against teams with a record better than .500. Amongst those teams, two of them, Indiana University and Marquette University, won their conference tournaments last season.

To prepare them for the difficult 2014 season, Notre Dame has three exhibitions against teams that won 14 games last season: Saint Louis University, Bradley University and University of Wisconsin.

Senior forward, Harrison Shipp, is gone after signing with the Chicago Fire as a homegrown player. Shipp led the Fighting Irish in scoring last season and was tied for No. 13 in the country in goals with 12.

 

University of Michigan Wolverines
Nov. 2
1 p.m.
DeMartin Stadium
 

Last year in front of 2,445 people at DeMartin Stadium, the Spartans took care of the Wolverines, 2-0, to take back the Big Bear Trophy.

The Big Bear Trophy was purchased in 2000 by former University of Michigan head soccer coach, Steve Burns, because he wanted a trophy to be passed back-and-forth between the two programs.

Since 2000, Michigan State has come away with the Big Bear Trophy 10 times, while Michigan has only won it three times.

The Spartans are 30-6-6 all-time and 15-1-3 at home against the Wolverines.

The Wolverines return their top two goal scorers from last season, junior forward, James Murphy, and senior midfielder, T.J. VanSlooten. VanSlooten and Murphy both scored four goals for the Wolverines last year.

Michigan will play the University of Notre Dame and Akron University this year. They also have the University of Maryland, Indiana University and Pennsylvania State University at home while having to go on the road to Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin.

 

Indiana University Hoosiers
Nov. 5
6 p.m.
Bloomington, Ind.
 

In 2013, Indiana suffered their first losing season in program history by going 8-12-2.

The Hoosiers still made the NCAA Tournament last year by beating the Spartans in the Big Ten Tournament, but were quickly knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Akron University in the first round.

Since the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament began in 1991, the Hoosiers have won 12 Big Ten conference tournaments.

They have won eight National Championships (1982, 1983, 1988,1998, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2012), which ranks second behind Saint Louis University, who has won 10 National Championships.

Since the NCAA Tournament began in 1959, only five teams have won back-to-back National Championships. St. Louis University accomplished this four time (1959/1960, 1962/1963, 1969/1970 and 1972/1973), Indiana University three times, University of Virginia two times, University of San Francisco and Michigan State University once (1967/1968).

The Spartans are 15-37-4 all-time and 7-12-3 since 2000 against the Hoosiers.

Indiana are without forward, Tommy Thompson, this year after he signed with the San Jose Earthquakes as a homegrown player.

The Hoosiers will have a tough schedule in 2014 as they have to play nine team that made the NCAA Tournament last year. A few tough non-conference games include: Georgetown University, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame and University of Louisville.

* * *

All records and stats come from university athletics websites and ncaa.com

* * *

Part 1 (Games 1-6)

Part 2 (Games 7-13)


Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports


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