EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s soccer head coach Damon Rensing announced the 2018 schedule on Thursday. The schedule will feature 10 regular-season home games at DeMartin Soccer Complex and seven away games.
For the second-straight season, MSU will play night games at DeMartin Stadium playing six night games in 2018.
“We are really excited about the 2018 schedule. Once again, we will play a very difficult non-conference schedule both at home and on the road. The non-conference should prepare us very well for a very exciting but difficult Big Ten schedule as the conference will be one of the top conferences in the country,” Rensing said.
For the second-straight season, Michigan State will take on six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament during its 17-game regular-season schedule, including five teams that finished in the NCAA RPI Top 25. MSU will also face five teams that finished in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25. The Spartans’ challenging schedule also includes seven teams with 10 or more wins in 2017.
“Having four teams that finished in the 2017 United Soccer Coaches Poll in the top 10 and six in the top 25, along with two College Cup participants, speaks to the strength of our schedule.”
Michigan State will begin action with a trio of exhibitions to prepare for regular-season action. On Aug. 10, the Spartans will host Spring Arbor. MSU will also face in-state rival Western Michigan in an exhibition on Aug. 13 in East Lansing. The Spartans and the Broncos met in the NCAA Tournament last year. In the final preseason game, Michigan State will take on Xavier in the Shindigz National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Aug. 17.
The Spartans will open the regular season with four-straight games at the friendly confines of DeMartin Stadium. In the home opener, MSU will play under the lights against South Florida on Aug. 24. Michigan State will round out August with home games against Tulsa (Aug. 26) and Canisius (Aug. 31).
“One of the great aspects of our non-conference schedule is the mix of regional rivalries (Notre Dame, Akron, Oakland, BGSU, Western Michigan) and also programs from five different states (New York, Connecticut, Florida, Oklahoma and California) from around the country,” Rensing said. “At the end of the day, the schedule hopefully prepares us for two goals we have every year. One - win the B1G regular season title and two - get selected for the NCAA tournament and make a run at a national championship.”
MSU will conclude its season-long four-game homestand against UC Riverside on Sept. 3. This is only the second meeting between the Spartans and the Highlanders. Michigan State will play its first regular-season road game against Bowling Green on Sept. 7. After a home game against Oakland on Sept. 10, the Spartans will play a pair of road games at Yale (Sept. 14) and Notre Dame (Sept. 17).
The Spartans will not open Big Ten action until Sept. 21 at home against Rutgers. This is the third-straight season that MSU has started conference play against the Scarlet Knights. The Green and White will open B1G road action at Penn State on Sept. 26, before returning home to end the month of September against Wisconsin at home on Sept. 30.
October opens with a road Big Ten battle with Maryland in College Park on Friday, Oct. 5. Last season, the teams battled to an epic double-overtime tie in East Lansing. MSU takes on always-tough Akron at home on Oct. 9. Last season, the Zips reached the College Cup before falling to eventual champion, Stanford.
Michigan State will travel to Ohio State on Oct. 12 before returning home for a pair of games. MSU will open the brief two-game homestand against Northwestern on Oct. 19. The Spartans will battle for the Big Bear Trophy against in-state rival Michigan in East Lansing on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Michigan State will conclude the regular season at Indiana on Oct. 28. The Hoosiers reached the national championship game last season.
The 2018 Big Ten Tournament will begin on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the top four seeds’ home sites. The semifinals will follow on Friday, Nov. 9 and the championship will be held on Sunday, Oct. 11. The Big Ten semifinal and championship will be played at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana for the third-straight season.
The 2018 NCAA College Cup will be played Dec. 7 and 9 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, California.
Michigan State ended the 2017 season with a 13-3-4 record advancing to the Elite Eight. The Spartans welcome back eight starters, including Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Hague and leading scorer and all-Big Ten selection Ryan Sierakowski.
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