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San Diego State women's soccer: Michigan State game preview

The Aztecs are set to host the Michigan State Spartans tonight at 7 p.m. PST at the Sports Deck.

Steve Dykes

San Diego State’s women’s soccer team is gearing up for their first match of the season tonight against Michigan State at 7 p.m. at the SDSU Sports Deck.

Here are a few storylines leading up to that game:

QUEST FOR 3-PEAT: The Aztecs are going for their third straight regular season and Mountain West Tournament titles and Michigan State is an excellent test at the beginning of the season. Hannah Keane, SDSU’s leading scorer a year ago, is looking to build upon last season’s 12 goals.

The Aztecs played an exhibition match last Friday, a 2-2 draw against Cal State Fullerton in which SDSU fought back from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the final 13 minutes.

SPARTANS AND AZTECS MEET AGAIN: Last season, these two squads played to a 1-1 draw in  East Lansing, Michigan in their first ever meeting.

The Aztecs’ previous record against Big 10 opponents is a stellar five wins, two draws and two losses in nine games. If that record is any indication of how SDSU will play, then the result should go in their favor on Friday.

FIRST LOOK AT MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans are starting fresh this year after an injury-plagued 2013 campaign saw them miss out on the NCAA Tournament.

They return their leading goalscorer from last season, Allyson Krause. Along with her, Second-Team All-Big Ten center back Mary Fiebernitz returns. Both are juniors and are leaders in anchoring the team.

They’ve also played one preseason match like the Aztecs, but the Spartans were beaten 2-1 by the University of Virginia, last year’s highest-scoring NCAA Division I club.

PRESEASON RANKING: San Diego State’s women’s soccer has picked up another preseason accolade, this one in the form of a ranking. SDSU is ranked 24th in Soccer America’s Top-25 preseason poll. This is the second straight year the Aztecs have been ranked after opening last season ranked No. 11.

They’re the only Mountain West squad in this particular poll and the ranking comes after the team was picked to win the conference with 115 points and five first-place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll.