Sept. 26, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Junior Lauren Sesselmann scored two goals and senior Annette Kent provided the eventual game-winner in Purdue's emotional 3-1 victory over the 13th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions Friday afternoon at the Varsity Soccer Complex.
No. 24 Purdue bettered its win-loss record to 7-1-1 (3-0-0 Big Ten); the best start in team history. Penn State dropped to 7-2-2, 1-1-0.
The match between conference rivals was cancelled after lightning storms enveloped the greater Lafayette area around the 74th minute. Despite the rain-shortened affair, the spirit of the Purdue players was anything but dampened.
"Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now, the team just played so well," said Sesselmann, who posted the third multi-goal game of her career. "At first I think we were a little intimidated, being that they're the top team in the Big Ten. As the game went on we gained more confidence and we started to believe that we can play against these guys. Then our offense started to click and we played how the Boilermakers can play."
Sesselmann's first score of the match came in the 40th minute and knotted the game at 1-1 going into halftime. Sesselmann received the assist from junior Lori Arnold, who was coming down the far right side heading towards the north goal.
Arnold booted the ball perfectly to Sesselmann through a defender near the top of the penalty box, and after that defender had fallen, it gave Sesselmann an ideal one-on-one matchup with Penn State goalkeeper Amanda Brown. A match that Sesselmann clearly won.
"The entire time I had the ball I kept talking to myself," said Sesselmann. "I kept saying you want this, you want to beat Penn State, keep your focus, you've done this a million times at practice so don't miss."
Sesselmann's goal was her third of the year. She closed out the scoring at 59:04 with her fourth of the season and the 19th of her career.
Purdue's third goal was initiated by a Kim Comisar corner kick, which almost seemed to ricochet off every offensive and defensive person in the goal box. Down in the trenches, Sesselmann managed to gain control of the ball and slid it past Brown for an insurance goal. Sesselmann credited Kent's pressure on the goalkeeper for allowing her to make the score.
Three minutes prior to the corner kick scrum, Kent scored her sixth goal of the season on an assist from Kelly Haxton. A native of Calgary, Alberta, Haxton gained possession around midfield, dribbled past three or four Nittany Lion defenders and slotted the ball flawlessly to an awaiting Kent, who promptly blitzed another defender and beat Brown near the top of the penalty box.
Kent currently leads all Boilermakers with six goals and 14 points.
"This was a great win, and it's a great start to the Big Ten season," said head coach Rob Klatte. "The entire team gave a full effort and maximized their potential. We really stepped up to the challenge. Early on I think we were a bit timid, so I told them that we just can't sit back and defend for 70 to 80 minutes; we have to attack."
Once the Purdue offense came to life, the defense did as well, and clamped down on one of the most potent offenses in the conference. Although goalkeeper Lauren Mason's scoreless streak was derailed at 455:07, her timely saves bettered her still undefeated record to 7-0-1. Mason completed the match with four saves and was the beneficiary of a team save made by midfielder Shannon Bradbury in the 31st minute.
Bradbury's save off the header by Tiffany Weimer prevented the Lions from extending their lead to 2-0.
Weimer scored the Lions lone goal of the match at 12:25, with an assist coming from Joanna Lohman. The Nittany Lion duo entered the game as two of the leading point scorers in the Big Ten, but mustered little offense after their game-opening score. Both players were held to three shots by the suffocating Purdue defense line of Mary Masck, Sharon Pagorek and Jenny Kinkead.
For the game, Purdue cleared out nine Penn State corner kicks, and held the Lions to just four shots in the second period. Penn State rifled off 12 shots in the first period. Purdue took 11 shots and four corner kicks.
Purdue's victory was its first ever over Penn State, who entered the game on a nine-game unbeaten streak. The Boilermakers have lost three times to the Nittany Lions, but tied them at 1-1 during the 2001 campaign.
"I give credit to Penn State, they really kept on the gas despite being down," said Klatte. "They gave themselves a number of scoring opportunities late in the game, but our defense was able to organize and break up their drives. I'm disappointed that there's still 15 minutes still showing on the game clock, but the conditions were just too dangerous for us to continue."
The soccer team, which is being recognized during Saturday's football game between Purdue and Notre Dame, have little time to relax as they prepare for No. 11 Ohio State on Sunday. The Buckeyes and Boilermakers kick off at the Varsity Soccer Complex at noon. Fans who bring their football ticket stub to the soccer match will be given free admission.
The conference match will be aired locally on 1410 WLAS-AM and over the World Wide Web at www.purduesports.com. Mark Leddy and Steve Hall will begin the broadcast at 11:50 a.m.