The 1-2 punch of Shauna Stapleton
and Parrissa Eyorokon
propelled Purdue to a 2-1 win over Illinois Sunday that extended the Boilermakers' unbeaten streak to 15 games -- the
longest in the country -- and moved them into first place in the Big Ten.
The seniors scored in the second half for Purdue, which leads the Big Ten with a 6-0-1 and is ranked with week at
No. 4 in the Soccer America Women's Top 25, its highest ranking ever.
Stapleton scored her eighth goal of the season from the penalty spot, while Eyorokon one-timed the ball past Illinois
keeper Lindsey Carstens
for her ninth goal of the season.
The game drew a season-high crowd of 1,138 in West Lafayette.
"I was very happy
with our second-half response, which I think was assisted by our great crowd," said Purdue coach Rob Klatte
. "We were quite lethargic in the first half and
played back on our heels, which is what you don't want to do against a talented Illinois team. This was a key victory for us in going after the Big Ten title."
The victory was marred,
however, by the loss of senior forward Jill Sarbaugh,
who went down with a knee injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
"Jill's loss is a tragedy," said Klatte. "Her
absence is going to leave a huge hole in our offense, but it gives other players the chance to really step up in her place."
, Purdue's No. 3 scorer with seven goals, should move into the starting lineup.
First place in the Big Ten will be on the line Friday night when the Boilermakers travel to
Penn State. The Nittany Lions were knocked out of first place on Sunday when they were upset by Minnesota, 1-0.