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No. 3 seed MSU hosting OU in NCAA 2nd round

Golden Grizzlies visit DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State men's soccer team (11-4-5) will host Oakland University in the second round of the NCAA Division 1 Tournament in DeMartin Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This will be the 17th time, and third time in a row, that the highest-ever seeded Spartans have made an appearance in the tournament. Their record is 23-13-3, including two championships: Back to back titles in 1967 and 1968, and four title game appearances. The team is 4-2-2 in the Big Ten and has defeated top programs such as No. 2 Indiana and No. 12 Penn State on the road this season.

Check the 2014 NCAA Men's soccer tournament bracket by clicking here

This is the fifth appearance for MSU under the helm of head coach Damon Rensing, and the third appearance with junior and top 20 national goalkeeper Zach Bennett. Bennett set a school record and leads the Big Ten with 11 shutouts.  

Michigan State also set many other individual records during the regular season. Junior midfielder Jay Chapman is the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Senior captain Fatai Alashe was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team. Chapman and Alashe have also been named in upcoming MLS draft rankings. Second-team honors went to seniors Adam Montague and Ryan Keener, while All-Freshman honors went to Brad Centala and Ken Krolicki. Keener was also named to the Capital One Academic All-District team with a GPA of 3.94. 

This will not be the first time that State has faced Oakland in the NCAA tournament, as they did so in 2007 when the Spartans lost 2-1. Last season, State was knocked out by the Fighting Irish, who eliminated Oakland in 2007, when they advanced to the Elite Eight. The Spartans lost that match 2-1 and were shut out by Notre Dame in 2012 by a score of 3-0. Michigan State faced Oakland in the regular season, and the Grizzlies prevailed with a 2-0 shutout over State.

State has come back to defeat top teams like No. 2 Indiana and No. 23 Penn State, highlighting an outstanding regular season performance that earned the Spartans the No. 3 seed and No. 10 national ranking.

Rensing's team has been without action since their loss to Maryland on Nov. 14, but has been training hard and preparing for this matchup.

"Anytime you can sleep in your own bed, guys can be comfortable, you know your surroundings, you know your routine this time of year, focus on that is good," Rensing said. "I think that one thing that when you do go on the road, that's the only focus that you have, so me and my staff will have to be smart on how we get our guys prepared and make sure that our only focus when we are at home is playing Oakland. Past that, I have no idea how things will play out, but I know that Oakland, obviously, is a very good team. They beat us already in the regular season and it will be a very difficult contest."

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. this Sunday at DeMartin Stadium where No. 13 Michigan State will face Horizon League Champion Oakland University in the NCAA Tournament second round action. You can buy tickets on MSU's website by clicking here.

The winner of this game will move on to face the winner of Sunday's matchup between Furman and Washington in the third round, also in East Lansing's DeMartin Stadium, on Nov. 30.