Nov. 16, 2003
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Purdue women's soccer team will be heading to its first NCAA Sweet 16 after coming from behind to topple the Western Michigan Broncos, 3-2, during a second round NCAA tournament match at the University of Illinois. The Boilermakers will now head to Chapel Hill, N.C., next week to play the nation's No. 1 team, the undefeated North Carolina Tar Heels.
"We are blessed to have the opportunity to advance to the Sweet 16," said head coach Robert Klatte. "Western Michigan was a physical, hard-working team, but we were able to get pressure into the goal box and tired their midfielders and defenders late in the game."
The first 60 minutes of the match were scoreless, but in an incredible turn of events, the teams exchanged five goals during the final 30; however, it was Purdue which kicked in the fifth and deciding goal.
The game-winner was knocked in by Lauren Sesselmann with just over ten minutes left in the game on an assist from Annette Kent. The goal was Sesselmann's tenth of the season, making her the first Boilermaker to score 10 or more goals in a season.
"We don't let ourselves get down when the other team scores," said Sesselmann. "We've been coming back in games all season."
Purdue found itself down late in the game on two occasions, but scraped back to knot the match up at 1-1 and again at 2-2.
Western Michigan looked like it may have had the game winner in the 73rd minute, when a free kick by Chantal Robinson found Meghan Urbats in the goal box to make it 2-1 Broncos. Several Boilermaker defenders leaped to clear the ball out, but the ball fell right to Urbats and she planted it past a diving Lauren Mason.
The Boilermakers continued to attack and three minutes later scored their second equalizer of the match when Kent assisted on a Courtney Coppedge score. The goal was originated by Sharon Pagorek who looped it to Kent standing in the right corner. After Kent dodged around Robinson, she slotted the ball to Coppedge, who made it a 2-2 match.
Four minutes after that score, Sesselmann punched in the game winner to send the team to North Carolina next weekend. A time and date for the Boilermakers' and Tar Heels' match has yet to be determined.
"It's amazing to see the program advance this far," said Kent. "It's exciting to play UNC, we go down there with absolutely nothing to lose."
Western Michigan lit the scoreboard first in 59th minute on a goal by Chelsea McNally. The score was set up by a free kick taken by Robinson, who sent the ball right to the goal box where it found McNally's foot. A few seconds later the Broncos were in good position to make the score 2-0, but a shot by Mandi Marsh tailed wide left.
Purdue came out firing in the early portion of the second frame, but were deralied on all their attempts by Western Michigan keeper Kate Perz. The Bronco netminder robbed Kent, Sesselmann and Coppedge of their attempts, while McNally found a way save a Kent shot from inside the goal box.
In the 53rd minute a Purdue goal was called back after Kent was called offisides; however, Kent would strike back 15 minutes later on a goal set up by Sesselmann. The goal was the ninth of the season for Kent, who tied Sesselmann's previous record for most goals in a season.
Sesselmann drove down the left side of the field and then slotted the ball over to Kent in the middle, who promptly blasted it past Perz for the first of two Boilermaker equalizers.
The scoreless first half was marked by some fine defensive plays by both goalkeepers. Mason was credited with two saves in the first period, her first save came in the fifth minute off a rocket launched by Sara Cultra, who strukc the ball from about 12-yards back. Mason also made an excellent grab off a Robinson free kick, running five yards out of the net to make the leaping interception.
The Purdue defenders did their jobs to keep the match scoreless through the first 45 minutes. In addition to clearing out a Robinson corner kick, Jenny Kinkead came up with a block of a Katie Ruzinsky blast, while Pagorek chased down a Bronco attacker to come up with a steal.
Purdue led in shots, 8-6, after the first period, but could not convert on some of their great scoring opportunites. Early on, headers by Sesselmann and Kelly Haxton just missed wide left, while a blast by Kent in the 37th minute trickled wide right.
Sesselmann's launch in the 19th minute was Purdue's best look of the first half, but Perz dove down to make the block and then quickly recoverd the ball so that Sesselmann could not take a second shot. Perz came through again in the 34th minute, deflecting out a free kick taken by Shannon Bradbury.
Today's win was the 14th of the season for Purdue, tying last year's record when it finished 14-6-2. Western Michigan's season came to an end at 14-8-1.