Nov. 7, 2003
MADISON, Wis. - Purdue soccer's run at the Big Ten Tournament came to a close on a frigid night at the University of Wisconsin, losing to the nation's 11th-ranked team, the Illinois Fighting Illini, 2-0. Illinois will play the winner of the Michigan and Wisconsin battle Sunday at 2 p.m. in the conference championship.
The championship contest will be televised by College Sports TV, which is channel 610 off the Direct TV satellite dish.
Illinois broke onto the scoreboard in the 55th minute on a goal by Meghan Kolze; the score was initiated by a free kick taken seven yards behind the penalty box. After the ball had settled on the ground right outside the goal box, Tara Hurless slotted the ball to Kolze, who then rifled it past a diving Mason.
Purdue continued to fight and get the goal back, but all their scoring chances were derailed by a stingy Illinois defense. With 22 minutes remaining, the Boilermakers launched consecutive corner kicks but both were defended well by the Illini. In the 72nd minute, Kim Comsar's free kick to an open Annette Kent just missed wide.
Illinois added a bit of insurance in the final minute, when Jessica Bayne planted a pass given to her by Hurless past keeper Maureen Carey.
The two teams played scoreless ball in the first half, with both defenses limiting the offenses' scoring opportunities. The Fighting Illini came close to scoring several times during the very last minutes of the opening frame, but Purdue's Mary Masck and Sharon Pagorek blocked several shots and intercepted a few more passes.
Offensively, Purdue took three corner kicks, but had trouble converting them into points. On the first corner kick, Kelly Haxton's header was saved by Illinois keeper Leisha Alcia. The second corner kick was pushed back to defender Jenny Kinkead, but her shot from 20-yards back sailed high. Purdue's third corner kick conversion ended when Comisar's shot just tailed to the left of the net.
The Boilermaker's closest scoring chance was off a free kick by Comisar. The midfielder's kick was headed towards the net by Pagorek, but the shot was partially deflected and was eventually bottled up by Alcia as Kent came running up to take a shot.
Alcia came out of the first period with four saves, while Mason was credited with one. Mason would make two more in the final frame to make three saves overall.
Purdue's season is still not over, as it expects to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. The 64-team tournament begins next Friday, and the Boilermakers are hopeful they'll get to host a few of the games, but that decision won't be made until Monday afternoon.