IU Faces Michigan St. In Key B1G Matchup
Oct. 26, 2012
SETTING THE SCENE Indiana has just two regular-season matches remaining, both in Big Ten play and key to the Hoosiers' quest for the regular season title. Indiana is coming off a 2-0 win over Evansville on Oct. 24, but suffered its first B1G loss of the season on Oct. 19 with a 2-1 loss to Michigan. The Hoosiers (3-1), Northwestern (3-1), and Penn State (3-1-1) are all in the hunt for the regular season title, with Michigan State right behind at 2-2. Indiana leads the all-time series with Michigan State 36-4-3, but is just 2-3-1 in the last five meetings. The teams tied 2-2 during the regular season in 2011, with the Hoosiers winning 2-1 in the Big Ten Tournament.
NEWS AND NOTES The Hoosiers bounced back with a 2-0 win over Evansville on Oct. 24. Eriq Zavaleta and Nikita Kotlov netted the goals for Indiana, with both coming in the first half. Zavaleta's 14th of the year and fifth game winner in the 25th minute with a diving header off a cross from Patrick Doody. It was Doody's first assist of the season. Kotlov gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute as he dribbled the ball down the goal line, before shooting for the lower right corner from a tough angle. That is goal number three on the year for Kotlov, with all three goals coming in the last four matches. Indiana out-shot the Purple Aces 19-6, with eight on-goal looks. Goalkeeper Luis Soffner picked up his ninth shutout of the season, tallying four saves in his 11th win of the year. Soffner has allowed just 10 goals in 1495:02 minutes of play for a 0.60 GAA. He has nine shutouts in 16 matches, matching his single-season best which came as a freshman in 2009. His 29 career shutouts ranks sixth on the IU career list. His 240 career saves (58 in 2012) puts him at fourth on the all-time IU list. Indiana is 4-0-1 in true road matches this season with wins over Saint Louis, Ohio State, Penn State and Kentucky. Today will be senior center back Caleb Konstanski's 39th-consecutive start for IU. The Hoosiers have out-scored opponents 18-5 after halftime. The Hoosiers are 2-for-2 in penalty kicks this season, with both makes coming from Zavaleta. IU is 9-0-1 this season when Zavaleta scores at least one goal. Indiana's 29 goals have come from nine difference players.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS Michigan State enters the match at 7-7-1 on the season but is riding a two-match win streak with victories over Oakland (1-0) and Wisconsin (2-0). They are 2-2 in Big Ten play, defeating Ohio State (2-1) and Wisconsin (2-0) while falling to Northwestern (2-1) and Penn State (2-1). They are 3-4-1 in home matches this year. Adam Montague is the team's leading scorer with four goals and two assists for 10 points. Two of his four goals have come in Big Ten play. Domenic Barone and Luke Norman have three goals each. Michigan State has scored 16 goals, while allowing 16 goals. The Spartans are out-shooting opponents 168-158. Zach Bennett and Bryce Dobbins have split time in goal. Bennett is 4-1 with a 0.60 GAA and three shutouts in 450 minutes of play. Dobbins has allowed 13 goals in 962:06 for a 1.22 GAA and 2-6-1 mark. He has one shutout on the season. Head coach Damon Rensing is in his fourth season as head coach. He is assisted by Kylie Stannard, Ben Pirmann and Jeremy Clark.
SERIES HISTORY Indiana leads the series 36-4-3, but three of the four losses have come in the last four seasons, as IU lost both meetings in 2008 and one meeting in 2009. Last season IU was 1-0-1 against the Spartans with a 2-2 tie during the regular season and a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana has posted shutouts in 28 of the 43 meetings, with the last coming in 2010, a 3-0 win for the Hoosiers in East Lansing. The Hoosiers are 14-1 in matches played in East Lansing. As players for the Hoosiers, head coach Todd Yeagley and assistant coach Brian Maisonneuve were 4-0 against the Spartans, out-scoring MSU 11-0 in those four meetings.
MICHIGAN STATE (36-4-3) 11/8/74 W 3-0 H 10/19/75 W 6-0 H 10/14/77 W 7-0 H 10/14/79 W 5-0 H 10/11/80 W 5-0 N 10/11/81 W 5-1 H 10/10/82 W 7-0 A 11/5/83 W 4-2 N 11/4/84 W 2-0 H 11/3/85 W 4-0 H 9/14/86 W 3-1 A 9/11/87 W 6-0 H 9/11/88 W 6-0 A 10/1/89 W 3-0 H 9/30/90 W 2-1 A 9/29/91 W 4-0 H 9/27/92 W 3-0 A 9/26/93 W 2-0 H 9/25/94 W 2-0 A 9/24/95 W 1-0 H 9/29/96 W 2-1 A 11/17/96 W 4-0 N! 9/28/97 W 3-0 H 9/27/98 W 3-0 A 9/26/99 W 2-0 H 9/24/00 W 1-0 A 9/23/01 W 3-0 H 11/11/01 W 2-0 N! 11/25/01 W 1-0 H* 9/22/02 W 6-1 A 9/21/03 T 1-1 H 9/26/04 W 3-1 A 11/12/04 L 1-2 N! 9/25/05 T 0-0 H 10/1/06 W 2-1 (2OT) A 10/6/07 W 2-0 H 11/9/07 W 1-0 A! 10/12/08 L 0-2 A 11/16/08 L 0-1 N! 10/18/09 L 0-1 (2OT) H 10/24/10 W 3-0 A 10/23/11 T 2-2 (2OT) H 11/9/11 W 2-1 N!
LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MET... Goals from sophomore Nikita Kotlov and senior Alec Purdie propelled the Hoosiers to a 2-1 win over Michigan State in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament at U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. Indiana broke through for the first goal of the day in the 39th minute as Kotlov tallied his seventh of the season and sixth in the last seven matches. The play began when Eriq Zavaleta won the ball 40 yards out with his back to goal. He made a turn and played a ball to Kotlov who was running free through the middle. As Michigan State goalkeeper Jeremy Clark came out Kotlov sent a chip over his head for the score. Indiana came back out firing in the second half, scoring just over a minute in with Purdie knocking in his eighth goal of the year. The play began with a long throw from sophomore Jamie Vollmer into the box. It took a high bounce, allowing Zavaleta to get a head on it as he re-directed the ball to Purdie. The senior calmly slotted the ball into the lower left for the 2-0 lead. With less than 10 minutes to play in regulation, Indiana thought it had goal number three when Zavaleta cleaned up a ball in the box and put it in the net but the freshman was ruled to be offsides. That proved to be a huge call as a minute later the Spartans got a goal back when Adam Montague came up with the ball in a scramble in front of the net for his fifth goal of the year. Cyrus Saydee earned the assist with the corner kick. Goalkeeper Luis Soffner improves to 11-3-4 on the season in goal, picking up three saves along the way.
BIG TEN DOMINATION Since the Big Ten began sponsoring men's soccer in 1991, the Hoosier have dominated the league. The Hoosiers are 93-16-12 in regular season matches, tallying 30+ more victories than second-place team Penn State (59). Indiana has never lost in its Big Ten opener, going 19-0-3 in those matches. IU has won 11 Big Ten tournament titles, sharing the 1995 crown with Wisconsin. Indiana has also been crowned regular season champion 14 times, including nine-straight seasons from 1996-2004. IU won back-to-back regular season titles in 2006 and 2007 and re-claimed the regular season crown in 2010. Indiana has been the league's goals-against average leader in 15 of 19 seasons, including 2007 when the Hoosiers allowed just two goals in six matches for a 0.31 GAA. IU has had a league-record 11 Big Ten Players of the Year, including three of the last five seasons. Will Bruin won the award in 2010. The Hoosiers have also boasted the Freshman of the Year three of the last five years. Eriq Zavaleta won the award in 2011.
THE BIG TEN RACE Indiana sits atop the Big Ten standings at 3-1, tied with Northwestern. The Hoosiers hold their Big Ten destiny in their hands with matches at Michigan State (Oct. 28) and vs. Northwestern (Nov. 1) remaining. Penn State is also in the mix at 3-1-1, but the Hoosiers hold the tiebreaker over the Nittany Lions after a 1-0 win on Sept. 29. Michigan State could also play its way into the conversation as they are currently 2-2 in league action. Ohio State (0-4) and Wisconsin (1-3) have been eliminated from regular-season title contention.
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DEJA VÚ KOTLOV? In 2011, midfielder Nikita Kotlov got off to a slow start on the season with just one goal in his first 12 matches. Over the final 10 matches of the season, Kotlov tallied eight goals to finish second on the team with nine total, earning All-Big Ten honors. In 2012, Kotlov did not score his first goal of the season until game 13, heading home a ball in a 2-2 tie at Louisville on Oct. 10. Kotlov added his second goal of the year in the very next game as the Hoosiers posted a 2-0 win over Butler on Oct. 16. Goal number three on the season came in a 2-0 win over Evansville, giving him three goals in the last four matches.
ZA-VA-LE-TA There are no worries about a sophomore slump for Eriq Zavaleta. After tallying 10 goals as a freshman in 2010 and earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, the sophomore has gotten off to a strong start in 2012. Zavaleta has 14 goals in 16 matches this season, including multiple goal efforts vs. Cincinnati (2), Clemson (2), Kentucky (2) and Wisconsin (2). Zavaleta's 14 goals have come on 63 shot attempts. He is also efficient in his shot selection, with 27 of his 63 attempts on goal (43%). Zavaleta has five of the team's 11 game-winning goals this season. He currently leads the Big Ten in shots (63), shots per game (3.94), points (30), points per game (1.88), goals (14), goals per game (0.88) and game-winning goals (5).
THE SOFFNER WALL Senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner is off to the best start of his career in 2012. In 16 matches Soffner has posted nine shutouts and had a streak of 377 scoreless minutes this season. Indiana has allowed just 10 goals this season, fewest among Big Ten teams, with Soffner playing all 1495:02 minutes in goal this year. Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after a pair of shutouts over Clemson and San Diego State, on Sept. 24 after a 2-0 shutout of Ohio State, and on Oct. 2 after a 1-0 shutout of Penn State, Soffner leads the conference in shutouts (9), save percentage (.853) and shutouts per game (0.56). He is second in goals-against average (0.60), but first among goalkeepers who have played more than 715 minutes this season.
INDIANA IN THE POLLS Indiana fell five spots to No. 16 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) rankings. The Hoosiers moved down three spots to No. 12 in the Soccer America poll. Indiana fell four spots to No. 13 in the Top Drawer Soccer Tournament 48 and two spots to No. 11 in the College Soccer News Top 30. The Hoosiers went down three spots to No. 11 in the Soccer Times poll.
HOOSIERS IN THE BIG TEN (as of 10/25) Indiana leads the conference in overall wins (11) and is tied for the top spot in Big Ten victories with three. The team currently ranks first in points (80), goals (29), goals per game (1.81), goals allowed (10), goals against average (0.60), shutouts (9) and corner kicks (103). Sophomore Eriq Zavaleta leads the league in shots (63), shots per game (3.94), points (30), points per game (1.88), goals (14), goals per game (0.88) and game-winning goals (5). A.J. Corrado leads in assists (9) and assists per game (0.56). Goalkeeper Luis Soffner leads the conference in shutouts (9), shutouts per game (0.56), and save percentage (.853).
NCAA RPI The first NCAA RPI was released on Oct. 15, with the Hoosiers leading the Big Ten at No. 5. In the second release on Oct. 22 the Hoosiers fell two spots to No. 7 Other RPI numbers for Big Ten schools are No. 26 Michigan, No. 38 Northwestern, No. 41 Penn State, No. 63 Michigan State, No. 82 Wisconsin and No. 86 Ohio State. In addition to the Big Ten teams, IU's opponents are No. 3 Akron, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 8 Louisville, No. 9 Saint Louis, No. 18 Kentucky, No. 30 SIUE, No. 62 Evansville, No. 76 Clemson, No. 80 Cincinnati, No. 89 San Diego State, No. 93 Oregon State and No. 97 Butler.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING For the Hoosiers this season, a struggle with timing is showing up in the stat sheet as the squad has been called offside 68 times this season. In comparison, IU opponents have seen the flagged raised just 14 times in matches with the Hoosiers. In looking at the Big Ten standings, the Hoosiers far and away lead the league in the stat with the next team on the list Wisconsin and Michigan State at 35 offside calls. Ten of those 68 flags came in Indiana's 1-0 double overtime win at Penn State on Sept. 29. The Hoosiers were also flagged eight times in a 0-0 double overtime tie against San Diego State and in a 2-1 loss to Michigan.
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