WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Kellie Phillips scored for the sixth time in the last five games, but Michigan's Nkem Ezurike had already accounted for a hat trick, spoiling Purdue women's soccer's senior day, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Soccer Complex.
The game was scoreless until the 63rd minute when Ezurike scored with the Wolverines' first shot on goal of the day. The final 10 minutes of the game featured three more goals, Ezurike scoring in the 81st and 86th minutes and Phillips getting the Boilers (6-9-2, 3-4-1 Big Ten) on the scoreboard in the 87th minute.
The hat trick was the third of the year at the Varsity Soccer Complex, two posted by visiting players. Entering the season, an opposing player had recorded a hat trick at Purdue's current home field. Meanwhile, in its three Big Ten Conference losses at home this season, the Boilers surrendered eight goals. Those eight goals were scored by only three players.
Phillips recorded her 18th career goal and now shares the team lead with six this season. She scored for the third game in a row and for the 12th and final time at the Varsity Soccer Complex. Hadley Stuart setup the goal with a left-to-right cross that found Phillips in front of the net for a point-blank score.
Michigan goalkeeper Hayley Kopmeyer made the defensive play of the game in the 71st minute, keeping her team in front with a diving save near the left post on a shot attempt by Kaitlyn Blacha. On a left-to-right run across the 18-yard box, Blacha worked free and fired a shot from the left side of the box. Kopmeyer dove to her right and got a hand on the shot to deflect it wide left. Michigan (9-5-2, 4-3-1 Big Ten) successfully defended the ensuing corner kick.
The loss coupled with Minnesota's win at Northwestern leaves Purdue and Ohio State tied for eighth place in the Big Ten standings. Michigan, Purdue & OSU entered the day tied for sixth with 10 standings points each. With last-place Northwestern getting an automatic bid to the Big Ten Tournament as the event's host, the top seven teams in the final standings will qualify this season.
Ezurike scored her first two goals with well-placed shots inside the left post. Chloe Sosenko helped setup the first goal with an extended run with the ball up the heart of the field. Nearing the top of the 18-yard box, she played a short pass to her left to Ezurike, who took one touch and fired a shot from 20 yards out. Her second goal was scored more from the left flank, but from a similar distance away from the goal.
Ezurike completed her hat trick by bending a shot from a sharp angle on the right flank into the top of the goal.
Purdue enjoyed a 6-4 edge in corner kick opportunities, including three chances in less than two minutes around the midpoint of the first half. Early in the second half before Ezurike put Michigan in front, the Boilers had a corner-like set piece from the southeast section of the field and a true corner about six minutes later. An Alex Hairston header that sailed high was the only shot inside the 18-yard box to result from the second-half opportunities.