COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State, the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament, and No. 2 seed Purdue meet at 2 p.m. (EST) Sunday for the Big Ten championship at the University of Minnesota’s Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

The Buckeyes advanced to their fourth Big Ten championship game by defeating No. 4 seed Indiana in overtme, 2-1, in a quarterfinal Thursday and then stunning No. 1 Penn State in a game Friday that was decided on penalty kicks, 5-4. Goalkeeper Lauren Robertson’s save on Penn State’s second penalty kick attempt would ultimately prove to be the game-deciding play. The teams were tied, 2-2, through the two overtime periods.
Ohio State is making its fourth championship game appearance under the direction of 11th-year head coach Lori Walker. The Buckeyes, 11-9 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, are 2-1 in title games with wins in 2002 and 2004.

Ohio State’s Big Ten Championship Games
1998 L, 0-2 vs. Penn State at University Park
2002 W, 2-1 vs. Wisconsin at Madison
2004 W, 2-0 vs. Penn State at Columbus
2007 vs. Purdue at Minneapolis

Ohio State leads the all-time series with Purdue, 8-5-1, but the Boilermakers have won the last four contests dating to the 2004 season, including a 3-1 win Oct. 28 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Ohio State has defeated Purdue in three of four meetings in the Big Ten Tournament.

Ohio State vs. Purdue in the Big Ten Tourney
2001 First Round OSU 2, Purdue 1 OT at West Lafayette
2002 First Round OSU 1, Purdue 1 at Madison (OSU wins 3-2 on penalty kicks)
2004 First Round OSU 2, Purdue 0 at Columbus
2006 First Round Purdue 2, Ohio State 1 OT at University Park

Ohio State had its 11-game winning streak in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium dating to last season snapped with a 3-1 loss to Purdue, ranked No. 4 at the time. Ohio State scored just four minutes into the match off a terrific set piece. Keiana Mitchell headed in a perfect corner kick set-up from Alex Byrzinski to give Ohio State its quickest goal of the season just four minutes into the game. The goal did not phase the Boilermakers. Consider:

  • Led by Parrissa Eyorokon, Purdue played the majority of the game on Ohio State’s side of the field. Purdue fired 17 shots compared to three for Ohio State.
  • Ohio State goalkeeper Lauren Robertson made nine saves while Purdue keeper Jenny Bradfisch did not record a save in the match.
  • Purdue tied it in the 40th minute on a play that initiated with the Buckeyes on attack with a corner kick. The ball was intercepted by Jordyn Shaffer who immediately found Eyorokon. Dribbling up the right side, Eyorokon took the ball from one end of the field to the other before feeding Sylvia Forbes to her left. Forbes sent a shot from about 10-yards out that beat Robertson to her left.
  • Eyorokon put the Boilermakers ahead to stay 15 minutes into the second half. She sent a low shot from about 18 yards that Robertson dove to her left for but could not reach. An own goal in the 83rd minute added insurance to the Boilermakers’ lead.

Lori Walker after the game: “Purdue has a calmness about them. We went ahead early but they never wavered. I was very impressed by their adjustments.”

The 2007 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship bracket will be announced on ESPNews Monday, Nov. 12, between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. Ohio State is ranked 34th in the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) poll prior to the announcement of the of the NCAA Tournament field Monday. The RPI is one of the key criteria used in determining the 64-team field. Ohio State’s resume for consideration to get into the NCAA Tournament field is improving with every win in the Big Ten Tournament. Consider:

  • Ohio State has played two games against Penn State, the RPI’s No. 1 rated team, and one against the RPI No. 2: North Carolina.
  • Playing Purdue in the championship will be the ninth game this year for Ohio State against a team ranked in the current RPI top 20.
  • Three of OSU’s 12 wins are over RPI top 20 teams (two over Indiana and one over San Diego.)
  • Ohio State is 4-5-1 vs. the 40 teams in the current RPI poll.
  • Overall, Ohio State has played two games vs. the RPI’s No. 1 team PSU and also games against No. 2 UNC, No. 11 San Diego, No. 13 Purdue, two vs. No. 18 Indiana, No. 20 Louisville, No. 35 Duke and No. 36 Illinois.  
  • Ohio State’s 2007 opponents have won 60 percent of their games.

In the semifinal win over Penn State, Alex Burzynski put the Buckeyes on the board early with a goal her team-leading sixth of the season in the 23rd minute. Ohio State held the lead until the 78th minute, when Penn State struck twice within a two-minute span. Danielle Toney scored at 76:57 on Penn State’s 24th shot of the game. Less than three minutes later Katie Schoepfer found the back of the net for a 2-1 Nittany Lion lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

Leading most of the way, the Buckeyes suddenly found themselves behind Penn State, a 16-win champion, a 10-time Big Ten champion rated No. 1 nationally by the Ratings Percentage Index and a team that was relentless on offense this night, firing a total of 32 shots. The Buckeyes didn’t quit, though. Instead, they attacked, just like they did three weeks ago when they trailed Minnesota on this very same field this late in the game. Ohio State came back to win that game in overtime after a tying goal in the 85th minute by senior Amanda Ball. And they would do it against Penn State, too.

Senior Carla Arbulu, playing as much as her sore leg would allow and as determined as any player on the Ohio State roster, took a feed from Lisa Collison and tied the score with the clock reading 85:13. It was Arbulu’s second goal this year and her first since the second game of the season.

Coach Lori Walker in a thoughtful piece of coaching…perhaps forecasting in her mind things to come later in the week put her team through a penalty kick drill to finish practice each day this week. No one on this team had been involved in a penalty kick shootout. It had been five years, in fact, that a Walker team had been in a shootout. But one wouldn’t have known it because, against Penn State, one-by-one five Buckeyes Lara Dickenmann, Lisa Collison, Alex Burzynski, Courtney Jenkins and Ashley Bowyer stepped to the line and scored. Lauren Robertson made the save on Penn State’s second shot and the Buckeyes advance to the title game.

Big Ten Tournament and Ohio State Notes and Good Stuff:

  • The championship game will be televised by the Big Ten Network on either a regional basis or alternate channels. CSTV will also run the championship contest on a tape-delay basis at 6 p.m. (EST) Sunday. Check local listings for coverage.
  • A replay of the Ohio State/Penn State semifinal game will be aired on the Big Ten Network at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.
  • The Buckeyes are now 11-9 all-time in Big Ten Tournament games, including 3-1 in semifinal games.
  • Ohio State is 5-13-0 all-time vs. Penn State, the most wins of any Big Ten school against the Nittany Lions.
  • Alex Burzynski has points in five of Ohio State’s last seven games (three goals and two assists).
  • The Buckeyes are 5-0-1 this season when Burzynski scores a goal.
  • The assists on Burzynski’s goal went to Lauren Beachy (her third this year) and to tri-captain Keiana Mitchell (her second).
  • Lisa Collison assisted on Carla Arbulu’s game-tying goal. It was her fourth assist of the year.
  • Penn State’s 32 shots were a 2007 Ohio State opponent high, topping the 26 shots by North Carolina.
  • Penn State had won three consecutive 1-0 games over Ohio State dating to 2004.
  • Ohio State has wins via penalty kick three times in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes also advanced with penalty kick wins over Michigan and Purdue in 2002.
  • Ohio State is now 5-1-1 in overtime games in 2007.
  • No one on the team had been part of an overtime win heading into this year (the team was 0-6-6 since 2004).
  • Ashley Bowyer scored in overtime off an assist from Lara Dickenmann to give Ohio State its 2-1 victory over No. 4 Indiana in the quarterfinals.
  • Dickenmann has overtime game-winning goals vs. St. Louis and Ohio and game-winning assists vs. Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana.
  • Bowyer’s goal was her third this season and first since she scored the game-winner vs. Pepperdine two months ago (Sept. 7).
  • Ohio State’s All-Big Ten freshman team member Courtney Jenkins had tied the score against Indiana, firing a shot in the lower left corner of the goal from 30 yards out just three minutes after IU had taken a 1-0 lead. The goal was Jenkins’ fourth of the season with the assist going to Dickenmann.
  • Dickenmann has 34 career assists, the Ohio State record.