Sept. 8, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Junior Kenzo Webster recorded a first-half strike and the Spartan defense held firm in the second half, behind senior goal keeper Jason Tillman's seven saves, as the No. 20 Michigan State men's soccer team upset No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth at the Wolverine Invitational, hosted by Michigan on Sept. 8. The Spartans improve to 4-1-0, and are 2-0 against ranked opponents this season, having defeated No. 3 New Mexico on Sept. 1.
Webster's goal came in the 34th minute when VCU goalie Andrew Dystra mishandled a ball played backwards into the box. Pressuring the Ram defense, Webster managed to fight off Dystra and a Ram defender, poking the ball into the right corner of the net.
"Kenzo (Webster) has his confidence," MSU head coach Joe Baum stated. "It's all about confidence. He is no quicker or bigger than last year, but now he believes in himself."
Webster, who scored two goals in 2005, leads Michigan State with three goals this season, having also scored the game winner against New Mexico.
In a fairly even offensive battle, Michigan State out-shot Virginia Commonwealth (2-2-0), 13-12, and led the corner-kick advantage five to four.
Tillman, who recorded his third shutout of the season and 15th of his career in net for the Spartans, came up with two crucial saves. The first of the two came in the first half as he dove to his left and punched a ball headed for the upper-90 over the net.
Tillman's second act of dramatics came late in the second half. Playing with a sense of urgency, the Ram offense was awarded a corner kick with just 2:07 remaining. The ball was served and after several touches in the box by both teams, Tillman produced a save from his knees to rob the Rams of possibly their best opportunity of the night.
"Those two saves of Tillman's were big," Baum said. "He keeps us in games by routinely coming up with those."
"We really have a team attitude of defense first," Baum added. "We work on it quite a bit, and we feel like if we can cut shots down, we improve our chances of a shutout."
Five cautions were issued to MSU, and two more were handed to VCU. The Rams committed a total of 22 fouls, compared to the Spartans' five.
Michigan State returns to the Wolverine Invitational to face Butler on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m. MSU and Michigan will not meet until Oct. 8, in Ann Arbor.