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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Michigan State Weekend Preview: Simon Fraser, Sonoma State, Oregon

Big set of games this weekend for the Spartans, as they try to prove their season-opening win over Florida was no fluke (though with a 1-goal win over Georgia and a loss to Tennessee, the Gators may just be out to prove it themselves). Michigan State wants to continue making strides after earning an at-large bid to the MCLA tournament in 2010, and this weekend can go a long way to taking that next step.

Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser has had plenty of success in recent years, but this season hasn't gotten off to a great start. The Clansmen are 1-2 with the sole win coming over MCLA-2 side Western Washington (who is 0-5). Historically weak Utah earned a win against SFU last weekend, and BYU pounded the Canadians in Provo, 16-8.

A pair of sophomores lead Simon Fraser in attack Colton Dow and midfielder Stuart Miles. Junior midfielder Rick Bezuidenhout joins those two in averaging over 3 points per game. 5th-year Ben Johnson and freshman Max Weselowski split time on faceoffs, with Johnson having more success to date. Sophomore Kyle Middletown is the starting goalie.

Simon Fraser has a tiny roster, with only 19 guys on the squad. Michigan State has developed some decent depth over the past few years, and if they can tire out the Clansmen they have an excellent shot at victory.

Sonoma State

The Seawolves have started 3-0 this season, but haven't really impressed, outside of a 19-1 pasting of Portland State. This is the sort of game Michigan State must have if they want to prove they're ready to take the next step.

Sonoma State only has stats up from their first game (which you may recall was a 19-1 victory), so it's tough to say who their real key players are. Four different Seawolves put up at least four points against Portland State, including senior attack Casey Wood, who had 3 goals and 5 assists.

The Seawolves will take on Oregon Saturday before the game against the Spartans on Sunday. This game will be streamed on Collegelax.us if you want to watch it.


At this time, it's tough to say what the Ducks will do from here on out. They should be able to get into the win column on Saturday against Sonoma State, but does that mean they were playing weak competition, or that they are turning around their season? Since the Michigan game, they've lost to Chapman. They play Sonoma State on Saturday.

For more previewin' of the Ducks, take a look at what I wrote when Michigan was about to play them.


As I'm writing this, it feels like every paragraph about MSU starts with "if Michigan State wants to take the next step..." but at this juncture, that's the storyline for a Spartan program that wants to prove it's on the rise, not content to always (and forever) be Little Brother.

So, If Michigan State wants to take the next step, a 3-0 record this weekend would be a huge boost toward achieving that goal. As it is, I can see them dropping a game that they probably shouldn't, as well. Allowing them one loss this weekend (probably against Oregon) is fair, and I see the Spartans coming out 2-1 on their trip to the Northwest.

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