Big Ten Men’s Soccer Preview

With the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer season about to begin, we take a look at the Big Ten Conference teams. Penn State and Northwestern shared the regular season title last year, both finishing with a 3-1-2 conference record. In the Big Ten Tournament 5th-seeded Michigan State stunned everyone, knocking out Indiana and Penn State before defeating 3-seed Michigan 2-1 in OT for the title and automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament.

Indiana finished 3-2-1 in league play, but stormed the NCAA National Tourney winning their 8th National Championship. Northwestern defeated two teams before falling in the Round of 16. Michigan State and Michigan both won 1st Round matchups before being eliminated.

The season-ending Big Ten Tournament will take place Nov. 13-17 at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

2013 teams at-a-glance (in order of predicted finish)

  • Indiana Hoosiers (16-5-3 in 2012) – defending NCAA National Champions – Ranked #1 in the preseason poll, the Hoosiers are led by seniors Nikita Kotlov (9 goals, 4 assists in 2012) and AJ Corrado (1 goal, 12 assists) in the midfield. Sophomore Femi Hollinger-Janzen scored 4 goals in his rookie campaign. Louisville-transfer Dylan Mares should provide offense. Mares led the Cardinals in 2012 with 7 goals, 6 assists. Who will replace Luis Soffner at goalkeeper will be a big question. Soffner played every minute of the season last year for Indiana. Sophomore Michael Soderlund is the likely candidate.
  • Northwestern Wildcats (13-6-4) – shared the Big Ten Conference title – Preseason ranking #19 Northwestern return eight starters, including senior Chris Ritter (5 goals, 6 assists).  2012 Freshman of the Year Joey Calistri led the Wildcats in scoring with 9 goals and 2 assists. Junior Tyler Miller is a returning all-conference goalkeeper.
  • Michigan Wolverines (11-10-1) – Eight starters, including senior Fabio Villas Boas Pereira (6 goals, 8 assists) leads a young and talented group. Tyler Arnone, James Murphy and GK Adam Grinwis also return. 10-player recruiting class includes Tyler Anderson (Minnesota Thunder Academy) and was rated No. 6 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
  • Wisconsin Badgers (6-8-5) – a veteran group return to Madison, including team captains Chris Prince (3 goals, 5 assists), Paul Yonga and redshirt-senior Tomislav Zadro (6 goals, 8 assists in 2011). Junior defender AJ Cochran was an all-conference selection in 2012. GK Chase Rau started 14 of 19 matches as a freshman. Nick Jones and Zaac Roelke are among the rookies who could compete for significant minutes.
  • Michigan State Spartans (12-10-1) – MSU stunned everyone in the conference tournament last year before bowing out of the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tourney. Senior defender Kevin Cope and junior forward Adam Montague (8 goals, 6 assists) are the top returnees for the Spartans. Sophomore GK Zach Bennett will play his first full season at MSU after enrolling last January a semester early from high school. Five in-state recruits will look for playing time for the Spartans.
  • Penn State Nittany Lions (9-5-3) – 10 new faces arrive to replace the 10 departed seniors from last season. Philadelphia Union Academy product Connor Maloney is one expected to contribute immediately. Midfielder Michael Gonzalez, who transfers from Lehigh, started 7 matches as a freshman in 2011. Top five scorers (80% of total offense) all departed. Owen Griffith (1 goal, 2 assists) is the leading returning scorer. Junior GK Emmanuel Martin (9 starts) split playing time last season.
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (6-10-3)- OSU may have a difficult time getting out from the bottom of the league standings. Nine of 17 matches scheduled are against 2012 NCAA Tourney teams. Louie Berra (3 goals, 1 assist) and Zach Mason were both named to the all-conference freshman team last year. Juniors Kenny Cunningham (3 goals, 1 assist) and Yianni Sarris (1 goal, 3 assists) return. Roster includes 10 freshman.

NOTE: On July 1, 2014 Maryland and Rutgers will both join the Big Ten Conference. Maryland, who has qualified for the NCAA Tourney in 18 of the past 19 seasons, is ranked #2 nationally in the preseason poll behind Indiana. Rutgers finished 7-7-1 last season. The Scarlet Knights will host Penn State on September 6.

Minnesotans in the Big Ten

Regular Season Conference Champions / Big Ten Tournament Champions
2012: Penn State & Northwestern / Michigan State
2011: Northwestern / Northwestern
2010: Indiana / Michigan
2009: Ohio State / Ohio State
2008: Michigan State / Michigan State
2007: Indiana / Ohio State
2006: Indiana / Indiana
2005: Penn State / Penn State
2004: Indiana & Ohio State / Michigan State
2003: Indiana / Indiana
2002: Indiana / Penn State
2001: Indiana / Indiana
2000: Indiana / Ohio State

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