Penn State Wins Big Ten Battle
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 2 Penn State battled to keep its 2005 record perfect against a feisty Purdue team Sunday, Sept. 26, coming away with a hard-fought 3-2 overtime win at Jeffrey Field. Freshman Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.) used her first career goal to decide the game in favor of the Lions, who are the seven-time Big Ten defending champions. The Lions are now 10-0 (2-0 Big Ten), while Purdue falls to 5-5 (2-1 Big Ten).
"It feels great to get a win like this in overtime," said head coach Paula Wilkins. "Our team showed a lot of guts against a good Purdue team that brought a lot of fight to this game. It was great to see Sheree's first career goal come at such a pivotal time. This game just shows you how tough the Big Ten can be day in and day out. We learned a lot from this one, and battled for the result we wanted."
The Boilermakers came out to a 1-0 lead less then eight minutes into the match off a goal from Jessica Okorafo. The second-ranked Lions rallied and eventually went ahead on a pair of goals from Player of the Year candidate Tiffany Weimer (North Haven, Conn.) before the first half ended.
Weimer's first conversion came on a feed from fellow senior Carmelina Moscato (Mississaugua, Ontario) in the 24th minute. Less then two minutes later, Weimer scored again. Junior midfielder Jean Rettig (Hummelstown, Pa.) passed the ball from center to the left side of the field to get the ball to a streaking Aubrey Aden-Buie (Allentown, Pa.). Aden-Buie fired it back to the middle in the box to a waiting Weimer, who tapped it in for her 15th goal of the season. She is now only eight from tying 2001 Hermann Trophy winner Christie Welsh's Big Ten record of 82 career goals and has scored in all 10 games this year for the Lions.
Purdue answered back in a physical second half, getting the equalizer in the 65th minute when Lauren Sesselmann scored off a Jill Sarbaugh pass from the left side of the field.
Neither team could get the go-ahead score in remaining minutes of regulation, forcing overtime for the second time this year for the Lions. Penn State didn't take long to capture victory in the extra frame, however, scoring 1:12 minutes into overtime. Gray netted the first goal of her college career when 2004 second team All-Big Ten selection Denay Riley (Washingtonville, N.Y.) found her with the close pass in front of the net where Gray redirected the ball for the gamewinner.
Penn State hits the road for the next part of its Big Ten title defense. The Nittany Lions travel to Northwestern and Wisconsin this coming weekend to continue conference play. Penn State meets the Wildcats at 4 p.m. CT on Friday, Sept. 30, before an 11:30 a.m. CT meeting with Wisconsin on Sunday, Oct. 2. The Nittany Lions return home for a showdown with Illinois on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at Jeffrey Field, followed by a game against Iowa at noon on Sunday, Oct. 9, also at Jeffrey Field. Penn State then has four road games before senior day on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. vs. Navy.
-- Courtesy Penn State