Michigan State traveled to Kent State for the first time in program history to partake in the Kent State Tournament a.k.a. the “Summer Street Slugfest”. Led by Mike Van Ermen, Colin O’Brien, and Andy Lieblich for the first time, the Spartans would play matches against Central Michigan, Kent State, Saginaw Valley, and Kentucky. This was being touted as a big beginning of the season showcase tournament, as all the teams involved were in the top eight of the preseason Captains’ Poll.
Unfortunately, it did not go as well as the Spartans would hope. Nine of the sixteen players on the roster were playing their first ever varsity match, and they were down some of their bigger power throwers. However, other teams, such as Kentucky, were also down players, and everyone had first year players playing.
In their first match, MSU was paired up with CMU, a team they had beaten twice last year (8-1 and 3-0.) This wasn’t the same CMU team though, as they came with a full roster and ready to play. The Chips would go on to win 4-1. Michigan State then faced Kent, who they defeated in the National Semifinals last year, and lost that one in a close one 2-1. After that was a 3-0 loss to SVSU, another team they K.O.’d from Nationals last year, and then followed by a 3-2 loss in OT to UK.
The OT loss ensured the Spartans a point on the weekend, but they definitely would have wanted more than one. It also meant that MSU is now 0-4 in the new overtime rules (established before the 2012-2013 season.) State will look to rebound later on this Fall, as they will likely travel at least once more and host the MSU Invite.