Early Tuesday afternoon in Spartan Stadium was a scene of reporters with questions and coaches with answers as Michigan State’s weekly sports press conference was held. The head coaches for volleyball, men’s soccer, football and ice hockey all spoke on their teams and outlooks moving forward.
Coming off a four-set loss to Purdue at the Jenison Field House, volleyball head coach Cathy George is focused on the team improving on consistency. George said there is steady progress coming from the young team that she wants to continue to see. One thing George mentioned she saw the team improve on is individual players stepping up to be able to distribute starts.
“I think other people stepping up, we’re needing that so that we can score in all sorts of different areas. We need balance, we want balance on our offense,” said George.
The Spartans will be heading into a four-game, on-the-road stretch next. George expressed the team’s readiness by saying they’re experienced enough on the road to be able to respond quicker and easier.
With a 9-2-2 record so far, MSU men’s soccer head coach Damon Rensing talked about the grind of his team this season. The Spartans have been on a tough stretch with a combination of matches being played Fridays, Tuesdays and Fridays again. Despite that, Rensing said the team is equipped to keep pushing, having good depth for him to manage substitutions.
“I think our guys are pretty competitive and they’re going to come out and play. They’re not going to hold back, they’re going to be excited,” said Rensing.
Rensing also mentioned Lansing will soon be getting a professional soccer team. With this new team, he hopes to have the same relationship as that of the Lansing Lugnuts and MSU baseball team to be able to keep the buzz of soccer year round and be involved in the community.
After a disappointing homecoming loss against Northwestern University, MSU football head coach Mark Dantonio came into the weekly press conference focused on the “big-picture things.” He’s not only looking at what needs to be improved but as wells as how his players are doing with their physical and mental health, their families and their daily lives. With an us-against-the-world mentality, Dantonio and the team are moving forward with a sense of purpose.
“As far as where we’re at right now, from my perspective... I feel like we should be 5-0. My message to our players is to play like it. Play like we’re 5-0,” said Dantonio.
As far as how the team expects to play against Penn State next Saturday, Dantonio is sticking to what has previously worked for MSU, running the ball. According to Dantonio, if they’re able to run the ball at least 40 times, then they have a pretty good chance at winning.
Dantonio also spoke on how the injuries are affecting the team. With five guys out on offense, including running back LJ Scott, Dantonio said they just have to deal with it. No one has season-ending injuries except for starting punter Jake Hartbarger, who Dantonio announced will be done for the year with a lower-leg injury.
The Spartans started their season with a 3-1 win over the University of Windsor during an exhibition game at Munn Arena on Sunday. Though the game doesn’t count towards MSU’s overall record, for head coach Danton Cole, it gave a good buzz on hockey with 3,000 people in attendance.
With one of the best first lines in the Big Ten conference, the team is looking to show scoring improvement in lines two through four. According to Cole, they’re equipped to do that with better depth and younger guys fighting for playing time. With this being Cole’s second season with the Spartans, he wants to build on what they started last year to “be a team that can beat everybody, every night.”
“There’s cautious optimism. I’ve still been preaching patience but we’re going to be a fun team to watch. We’re going to play the game the right way… we’re going to win games,” said Cole.