Nov. 6, 2007
The 2007 Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament begins Thursday, Nov. 8 on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis, Minn. The top eight teams, based on regular season standings, will enter Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium to battle for the Big Ten Tournament Championship and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State is again the top seed after earning its tenth-consecutive conference championship and No. 1 seed with a Big Ten record of 9-1-0. The Nittany Lions' title streak is now the second-longest run in women's conference championship history. Only Michigan's women's swimming and diving program had a longer span of titles with 12 from 1987-98. Katie Schoepfer heads up a Penn State offensive attack that ranks second in the conference in scoring with 5.30 points per game and third with an average of 1.60 goals per contest. Overall, Schoepfer has notched 12 goals and 27 points for the Nittany Lions. Spearheading Penn State's defensive effort in conference play, Alyssa Naeher ranks first in the Big Ten in save percentage (.892) and goals against average (0.39). The Nittany Lions allowed a conference-low 0.40 goals per game.
Purdue enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed with an 8-1-1 Big Ten mark, improving one spot from last year. The Boilermakers top the conference in five major offensive categories, most notably goals per game and points with 2.80 and 85, respectively. Purdue is led by senior Parrissa Eyorokon and junior Jessica Okoroafo. The duo combined for a total of 13 goals during Big Ten play, out-scoring any other conference tandem. These two also top the charts in total points with Eyorokon with 18 (seven goals, four assists) and Okoroafo with 16 (six goals four assists). Defensively the Boilermakers rank second in the conference allowing only 0.50 goals per game.
Third-seeded Illinois finished the conference season with a 6-3-1 record and will make its 11th straight tournament appearance. 2006 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Ella Masar returns for her final season looking to help guide the Illini back to the championship game. Overall this season, Masar tops the Big Ten with 0.65 goals per game and ranks second with 1.47 points per contest. The Illinois defense will be headed up by last season's Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Emily Zurrer, and one of the conference's top goalies, Lindsey Carstens. The senior goalkeeper has shut out seven of the 10 conference opponents she faced this year.
Indiana will make its sixth consecutive trip to the Big Ten Tournament carrying the fourth seed after posting a 5-4-1 conference record . Kristen Arnold, IU's offensive spark, leads the Big Ten with eight goals and 3.80 shots per game. Indiana looks to rebound from last year's first round loss in the Big Ten Tournament.
The remaining field includes Ohio State, which will also look to avenge a first round loss last season. The Buckeyes will commence the tournament as the No. 5 seed with a 5-5-0 conference record. Senior goalkeeper Lauren Robertson benchmarks the OSU defense posting a conference-best 53 saves. Sixth-seeded Minnesota will return to the tournament after finishing in a tie for 10th place last season. Goalkeeper Lindsay Dare ranks fourth in the league with 0.50 shutouts per game to lead a tough Gopher defense. Garnering the seventh seed is Northwestern, which nearly upset top-seed Penn State in last year's opening round. Senior Kelsey Hans highlights the Wildcats' offense with nine goals overall this season, ranking her fourth in the Big Ten. Senior defender Lauren Johnston has helped hold three conference opponents scoreless this year. Iowa makes its first tournament appearance since 2001 to round out the field. The Hawkeyes won their final game of the season to clinch post-season play.