EVANSTON, Ill. - Goals from Kellie Phillips and Alex Hairston led Purdue women's soccer to a 2-1 victory at Northwestern Friday evening, as the Boilers recorded their eighth consecutive win in the series on a windy and rainy night at Lakeside Field on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The wind was howling in from the north for the entire game, creating a substantial advantage for whichever team was attacking the south goal. However, Purdue (4-7-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten) managed to score the game-winning goal in the 60th minute while playing into the wind.
Phillips scored her 13th career goal, but first of the season, in the 26th minute off an assist from Chinyelu Asher. After the Wildcats (1-10, 0-4 Big Ten) equalized early in the second half, Hairston's team-leading sixth goal of the season proved to be the freshman's first game-winner in Big Ten Conference play. She slammed home a rebound after Mollie Kuramoto headed a Jordan Frick corner kick. Purdue successfully defended the south goal for the game's final 30 minutes after Hairston accounted for the go-ahead goal.
While the victory extended the Boilers' longest win streak against any Big Ten rival, it also snapped the team's eight-game (0-7-1) winless drought in conference play dating back to October 2010.
Purdue changed up its defensive back four for the first time this season. Together the quartet helped limit NU to only one corner kick. Marta Lynch and Alexis Tryba made their first starts at center back and both went the distance. Brookley Rogers and Frick also played all 90 minutes as the outside backs. Kuramoto came off the bench for only the second time this year but logged 67 minutes. Jessica Warren did not start for the first time since 2009.
Northwestern tied the game in the 47th minute when Jill Dunn knocked in the rebound of her initial shot attempt. Purdue goalkeeper Clara Kridler made a nice sprawling save to stop the initial shot attempt of the sequence, but the rebound caromed back to Dunn for an easy tap in.
Asher eluded three NU players along the endline on the left side of the goal to setup up Phillips' goal. The highlight of Asher's elusive dribbling was a nutmeg (flicking the ball threw an opposing player's legs) that helped provide the extra space for the pass into the heart of the 18-yard box. Phillips' placed her one-touch shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
Kuramoto forced NU goalkeeper Anna Cassell to make a diving save with her header off Frick's ball served in from the northeast corner. The rebound came directly to Hairston on the left side of the net. Kuramoto later hit the crossbar with a header following another Frick corner kick in the 81st minute.
Kuramoto recorded her team-leading fifth assist Friday. She has been credited with a helper in four of the last five games in which Purdue has scored. Hairston, meanwhile, has scored a goal in each of the last four games in which the Boilers have cracked the scoreboard.
Hairston had the best score early in the game. Taylor Niewoit, who started for the first time since the season opener, connected a pass to classmate on the right-side of the 18-yard box in the 23rd minute. Hairston had a lane to shoot through but missed wide right.
Even with the wind working against them in the second half, the Boilers limited to NU to just one shot on goal apart from the early flurry that led to the Wildcats' equalizer. Kridler made her only other save of the game in the 59th minute.
Purdue returns to action for Sunday's 2 p.m. (EDT) game at Illinois.