UI Smothers OSU in Big Ten Opener
Illinois outshot Ohio State 24-6 in a 5-1 conference opening victory over Ohio State Friday night at the OSU Sports Field. Freshman forward Lisa Baldwin recorded a hat trick for the Fighting Illini and put up nine shots as Illinois dominated play from beginning to end.
Illinois outshot the Buckeyes 10-3 in the first half to build a 2-1 advantage. Baldwin gave the Illini a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute as Heidi Holtzman crossed a ball into the middle and Baldwin hammered it far post past OSU goalie Amber Barnes.
Ohio State evened the score less than a minute later on a penalty kick, but the Illini went up 2-1 when the center of the Buckeye defense collapsed and Sarah Aberle found herself free in front of the goal after settling a Lindsay Johnson ball.
The Orange and Blue took control right away in the second half, scoring a pair of goals within three minutes of each other. In the 54th minute, Kelly Buszkiewicz found Baldwin open again in the middle of the field as she netted her second goal of the day. Three minutes later, Aberle crossed the ball into the middle of the box and Julie Schueller headed it at goal, squeezing it just inside the post.
Baldwin tightened the choke hold even more with nine minutes remaining as she sliced through the bewildered Buckeye defense with fancy footwork and notched her third goal of the evening.
The Illini remain perfect on the season, improving to 5-0 and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Illinois continues the conference season with the Big Ten home opener on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Penn State.