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    #16 Illinois Topples Michigan State, 1-0
    Vanessa DiBernardo notched her 11th goal of the season against Michigan State, increasing her Big Ten-leading points total 25.

    Vanessa DiBernardo notched her 11th goal of the season against Michigan State, increasing her Big Ten-leading points total 25.

    Oct. 29, 2010

    Box Score

    EAST LANSING, Mich. - The University of Illinois women's soccer team downed Michigan State at DeMartin Soccer Complex, 1-0, on Friday afternoon. Vanessa DiBernardo notched the only tally of the contest early and the Illini defense kept Michigan State off-balance throughout the game to earn its eighth shutout of the year.

    "Collectively, our coordination, communication and organization defensively was stable and consistent," said head coach Janet Rayfield of Illini defenders Danielle Kot, Krystin Miller, Christina Farrell and Julie Ewing. "When you do that, you limit your opponents and the shots they can take."

    Illinois wasted little time in earning the lead, breaking the scoreless tie four minutes into the contest on its first corner kick attempt. Marissa Mykines played the ball into the center of the field off the restart. Niki Read took control in the box and fired an attempt on net, which Michigan State goalie Jill Fliestra was able to knock down but could not control. The ball trickled to DiBernardo, who fired a shot into the lower-left corner to put the Illini ahead, 1-0.

    "Any time you can get an early goal, it's important," Rayfield said. "This team is confident when we score and getting that goal settled us down. From there, we played with possession, keeping the ball. We limited Michigan State to five shots, cutting the number they are used to taking in half. That's important because they do not take a lot of shots to score goals, so you have to limit their number of attempts."

    After replacing Fliestra with redshirt-junior Elizabeth Watza at halftime due to injury, Illinois continued to pressure the Spartans' defense throughout the final 45 minutes, totaling eight shots. During the final half, the Illini's best scoring opportunity came when Jenna Carosio blasted an on-target attempt, forcing Watza to make a diving save to hold Illinois to its one-goal lead.

    On the game, Illinois outshot Michigan State, 17-5, while the Illini took eight corners to Michigan State's one. Alexandra Kapicka stopped two shots in net while the duo of Fliestra and Watza tallied nine saves. The Illinois defense was able to hold the Spartans to only two shots on net, both coming in the first half, while leading-scorer Laura Heyboer was unable to generate any attempts on goal.

    The Orange and Blue (12-3-1 overall, 5-2-1 Big Ten) continue their weekend at the University of Michigan on Oct. 31 with a 2 p.m. contest.

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