Oct. 28, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Even after losing central midfield stalwart Lauren Montenegro to an early injury, Purdue women's soccer played Big Ten champion Penn State even for the first half, but a pair of second-half goals lifted the No. 12 Nittany Lions to a 2-0 victory Friday evening.
The Boilermakers (7-11-2, 4-6-1 Big Ten) remain alive in the Big Ten Tournament chase thanks to Minnesota's 6-3 victory against Nebraska, a result that eliminated the Huskers from tourney contention. Purdue will be rooting for Illinois (vs. Michigan) and Indiana (at Ohio State) Saturday and Sunday, respectively. If both Illinois and Indiana win, the Boilers should earn the final tournament berth. A win or draw for either U-M or OSU would eliminate Purdue.
The Boilermakers lost Montenegro in the eighth minute due to a knee injury. The senior made her 82nd career start Friday and has not missed a game during her college career.
Penn State (17-3, 10-1 Big Ten) scored in the 48th and 64th minutes. Emily Hurd accounted for the game-winner when she floated a shot into the top half of the goal with a well-placed shot from 30 yards out on the left flank. Taylor Schram padded the PSU lead when she finished off a give-and-go opportunity with Maya Hayes.
Purdue successfully kept Hayes from scoring for the first time since Sept. 29. The sophomore striker had scored 10 goals during her six-game scoring streak, becoming the national leader in goals in the process. The Boilers' Kellie Phillips also saw her program-record five-game scoring streak end Friday.
Hayes and Purdue goalkeeper Clara Kridler were involved in a key play early in the game. In the ninth minute, Kridler prevented a potential breakaway chance for Hayes by attacking the developing play at the top of the 18-yard box. However, Kridler was ruled to be outside the 18-yard box when she made contact with the ball and was issued a yellow card. Even though the shot hit her face and not her hand, the referee ruled there was intent to handle the ball. Christine Nairn missed wide left on the ensuing free kick from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Kridler successfully kept the game scoreless on the gutsy play but sustained some blurry vision when the ball hit her in the face. She had to leave the game for the final 14 minutes of the first half. Yana Lyon protected the net until Kridler could return after the halftime break.
Penn State amped up the pressure and sustained possession for longer stretches in the second half, outshooting Purdue 15-2 in the final 45 minutes.
Mollie Kuramoto had the Boilers' best scoring chance, forcing PSU goalkeeper Erin McNulty to make a diving save to her right on a shot from the heart of the 18-yard box in the 50th minute.
Purdue was shutout for the first time since Oct. 2 at Illinois. The Boilermakers remained winless all-time in Happy Valley.
If Purdue gets the help it needs from Illinois and Indiana this weekend, it would open Big Ten Tournament play as the No. 7 seed vs. Illinois Wednesday. The tourney is being held at Northwestern's Lakeside Field in Evanston this year.