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No. 2 Hoosiers set for senior day showdown with No. 12 Spartans

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Trevor Swartz takes a corner kick on September 2, 2018 in a game against UConn. Swartz leads the Hoosiers with 10 assists on the season and will play his final regular season game for the Cream & Crimson on Sunday.
Auston Matricardi

Todd Yeagley’s crew might have taken care of business on Wednesday in Columbus, bringing home an outright Big Ten regular season championship, but they’ve got one more challenge left in the regular season—No. 12 Michigan State.

On Sunday the No. 2 Hoosiers will host the Spartans in a rematch of the 2017 NCAA Quarterfinal matchup at Bill Armstrong Stadium that IU won on penalty kicks. This top of the table clash won’t have a conference championship on the line as some thought it would, but there will be something on the line for the Hoosiers.

If Andrew Gutman & Co. can get a win in this one they’ll be the first team to go undefeated and untied in Big Ten play since Penn State in 2005 when there were just seven teams in the conference, two less than the current number. Here are some things to watch as the Hoosiers close out their regular season.

Superb Seniors

Sunday is senior day at Bill Armstrong Stadium. IU will honor one of their more accomplished senior classes in recent history prior to the match including: Rece Buckmaster, Jeremiah Gutjahr, Andrew Gutman, Timmy Mehl, Francesco Moore, Austin Panchot, Trevor Swartz and Cory Thomas.

In the last five seasons (some of them are redshirt seniors), these players have helped IU to a 69-15-21 record (nice). In that time they’ve collectively made 419 starts, scored 62 goals, and tallied 72 assists.

These seniors have led the way for Indiana recently, with Andrew Gutman and Trevor Swartz being the heroes of recent matches. Will this trend continue? Can the seniors continue to lead from the front? These will be important questions for the Hoosiers today.

Strong Spartans

Michigan State comes into this matchup with a 10-4-2 record and a three-game unbeaten streak after losing to an Akron squad that’s coming off a College Cup appearance last season.

The Spartans haven’t played the toughest schedule this season. They’ve played just one ranked team, nabbing a 1-0 win in South Bend against No. 8 Notre Dame last month.

MSU has one of the more prolific attacks in the Big Ten this season. They currently sit third in shots (215) and they’re second in goals (28) and assists (33).

Player to Watch

The player to watch out for when the Spartans take the field is Giuseppe Barone. MSU’s number 10 serves as the facilitator in their attack, creating chances for himself and his teammates. Barone has three goals and nine assists on the season, the second number being the most of any Michigan State player.

He has been named to the Top Drawer Soccer Top 100 in each of the last two seasons. In 2017 he was ranked the 87th best player in the nation and then this year he jumped all the way up to No. 32. In 2016 he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

In recent weeks the junior scored against Ohio State and recorded an assist against Michigan.

Quick Facts

• In the overall series between the Hoosiers and the Spartans, Indiana leads Michigan State, 39-8-5.

• The Hoosiers are 16-3-4 against MSU in Bloomington, with the Spartans last road win coming on Nov. 5, 2014 (3-2).

• Indiana is unbeaten in their last four matches against MSU.

• Last season these teams played to a 1-1 draw in East Lansing.

• IU has out-scored MSU in the series, 138-33.

The Hoosiers and Spartans kick off at 4pm at Bill Armstrong Stadium. You can catch the match on ESPNU and if you haven’t gotten a chance to watch this team play yet you should absolutely tune in.