Sept. 19, 2003
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Purdue held off the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 2-0, Friday night in the Big Ten season opener for both teams. The Boilermakers (5-1-1; 1-0-0), who extended their winning streak to four games, received goals from Courtney Coppedge and Lauren Sesselmann.
Although the veteran forwards provided the offense, it was the Purdue defensive unit of Jenny Kinkead, Mary Masck and Sharon Pagorek who earned MVP honors for keeping the Golden Gophers off the scoreboard. The Boilermaker trio appeared wherever needed on the field as it continually cleared out crosses, and wrestled the ball away from the attackers in the goal area. At the end of the first period, the Golden Gophers were held to just three shots, while Purdue rifled off 14.
Minnesota's offense came to life in the opening minutes of the second half, but could not light their half of the scoreboard. The Golden Gopher's flurry started with a shot off the foot of Allison Raino, which was intercepted by a diving Lauren Mason. The freshman keeper then scooped up a slow roller from Amanda McMahon a few ticks later.
Mason played all 90 minutes and made four saves; her second complete game shutout of the season. Purdue has blanked its last four opponents by a combined score of 18-0.
Mason's personal scoreless streak extended to 354 minutes, 42 seconds with the win. Her last goal allowed was scored at 49:31 of the Eastern Michigan game on Aug. 31.
Down 1-0 in the second half, the Minnesota faithful thought their team scored the equalizer at 57 minute mark, when a shot by Rebecca Dellaria rattled the netting, bringing cheers from the 1,000 plus fans in attendance, but the ball clearly landed atop the goal. A minute later, a
free kick by McMahon again sailed off target, deflating the emotional buildup of the crowd.
Coppedge further removed the crowd with a critical insurance goal in the 66th minute. Sesselmann took the inital shot, but it was blocked down by Minnesota goalkeeper Karli Kopietz; however, Kopietz couldn't maintain possession of the ball and Coppedge was quick to react.
Coppedge's score was her fourth of the season and her first since her hat trick game vs. Arkansas on Sept. 7.
Sesselmann kick started the Purdue offense in the seventh minute with a score from the top left corner of the goal box. The junior from Green Bay, Wis., eluded several Golden Gophers in the attacking zone and placed the ball perfectly into the right corner past a diving Kopietz. Sesselmann's second goal of the season was assisted by Kim Comisar. Coppedge also played a significant role in setting up the opening score, dribbling the ball through a handful of defenders at midfield.
The first half was filled with missed scoring opportunites for both teams. Purdue had some nice looks at the net, but their shots either traveled astray, hit off the post or were knocked down by an aggressive Kopietz. For Minnesota, forward Amanda Neuman arrived a split-second late for an Anna Nudell Lee pass to the center of the box, and completely missed her shot. At 7:39 a direct free kick by MchMahon sailed high and wide, and with less than two minutes to go, Mason left her perch to stuff Dellaria at the top of the goal box.
The Boilermaker's second night game of the year drew a boisterous crowd of 1,073 fans; the sixth-largest crowd in the history of Minnesota's Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
Purdue's next contest is Sunday, Sept. 21 at Wisconsin for a 1 p.m. kickoff against the Badgers. The Boilermakers return home to the Varsity Soccer Complex next weekend to host matches vs. No. 11 Penn State (Sept. 26), and No. 12 Ohio State (Sept. 28).