CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fighting Illini soccer secured an important three points with a 2-1 win over Purdue on Sunday at Demirjian Park.
The Orange and Blue now move to 6-6-3 on the season and 2-4-2 in Big Ten play. Illinois has now earned two-straight wins over the Boilermakers and have won four of the last five matchups overall.
For the second time in the last three matches, the Illini were able to put the ball in the back of the net within the first five minutes, this time a third-minute goal from Lia Howard. Sydney Stephens won the ball back in the attacking third with a well-timed tackle and was able to slide the ball to Howard. The sophomore cut across the box to get the ball on her right foot and curled her shot into the bottom right corner to give Illinois the lead.
The Massapequa, N.Y., native, now has four goals on the season, tying her with Stephens for the team lead. Howard also leads the team with 12 points on the season (4 G, 4 A).
Purdue would level the contest in the 16th minute after being able to sustain a spell of pressure on the Illinois goal after a corner kick.
The Illini had a couple of chances to grab the lead back in the first half, their best coming in the 32nd minute when Abby Lynch was played through on goal by Stephens, but she was denied by a good save from the Purdue keeper.
The visitors nearly went ahead in the 38th minute with a swift counter attack, but Julia Cili was able to keep the contest tied…