Nov. 8, 2007
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The No. 8 Boilermakers (17-2-2) are heading to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, but they'll likely be playing without Parrissa Eyorokon. The senior attacker was injured early in the first half of Purdue's 3-1 first-round victory over Northwestern.
Eyorokon's injury was not diagnosed, but her leg was iced at halftime and she left Minnesota's Robbie Stadium on crutches. It is unknown how much of a role she'll be able to play through the remainder of the postseason.
But a team can't win 17 matches without knowing how to respond to adversity.
The Boilermakers found themselves down 1-0 after Northwestern's Kelsey Hans hammered a shot from beyond the 18-yard line and into the top corner. Purdue goalkeeper Jenny Bradfisch ran to the ball's location but was not tall enough to tip it away.
Hans' goal, her 10th of the season, marked only the sixth time this season Purdue trailed in a match. The Boilermakers, however, came back in four of those contests, including Thursday.
Purdue received its equalizer in the 13th minute - moments separated from Eyorokon's injury - as Shauna Stapleton connected with Loredana Riverso.
Stapleton, a first-team all-Big Ten selection at midfield, utilized her speed and agility on the assist, whipping around a defender inside the 18-yard box before delivering a well-timed cross to Riverso in the six.
Riverso's game-tying goal was her ninth of the year. She clinched the match with her 10th goal in the 87th minute.
A native of Mississauga, Canada, Riverso was confronted with two Wildcat defenders as she ran with the ball from the 18 and into the six-yard box. Instead of dropping back to the to kill clock, Riverso pursued her angle and blasted a tight diagonal past both defenders and off the far post.
With 10 goals from Riverso and 12 from Eyorokon this season, Purdue claimed its first double-digit scoring duo in program history. Lauren Sesselmann
and Jessica Okoroafo
came close to being first Boilermaker tandem to achieve this feat in 2005, as Okoroafo knocked in 10 and Sesselmann provided nine.
The game-winning goal was ruled a Northwestern own goal in the 34th minute. A shot, appeared to be taken by Felicia Schroeder from inside the six-yard box, was kicked across the goal line by a NU defensive back who was trying to stop the ball.
The Wildcat offense was silenced following its only goal. Purdue's defense limited NU to just six more shots, only three of which were on goal. Bradfisch made three saves in the winning effort.
Purdue recorded 26 shots, placing 16 on frame. NU goalkeeper Lauren Johnson was credited with 13 saves. Jessica Okoroafo and Sylvia Forbes led the Boilermakers with six shots each.
The Boilermakers next play Friday night at 8 p.m. CT/9 p.m. ET against the winner of the Illinois and Minnesota quarterfinal. The match will be shown on tape delay on the Big Ten Network at 3 a.m. ET. and replayed prior to Sunday's live championship match.