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Big East and Big Ten Quarterfinal Wrap Up

The Big East and Big Ten Conference Championships got underway on Sunday. Here’s a quick recap of the matches and a rundown of who advanced to the semifinals for each. For the Big Ten, all but one game was decided by a goal or less in the case of Rutgers vs Penn State. For the Big East, the higher seed advanced in both contests.

Big East

Providence defeats DePaul on penalties

This match was one of the most entertaining on the day with DePaul’s Madeleine Frick’s last-minute heroics forcing overtime. Providence led late after forward Hannah McNulty scored in the 78th minute of play, but Frick tied the game on a free kick in the final minute of play.

Despite playing another 20 minutes, neither side could break the deadlock. In the ensuing shootout, the Friars converted all four attempts taken. Ultimately, McNulty’s penalty decided the contest. Initially, it looked like DePaul’s Lauren Frasca saved McNulty’s kick but it rolled across the mouth of the goal and bounced off the opposite post into the net.  Seniors Franny Cerny, the Big East scoring leader, and Alexa Ben both saw their attempts saved for DePaul. Providence will face the Butler Bulldogs in the Big East semifinals.

Marquette advances, 3-0, over Xavier

Senior Eli Beard scored twice in the second half to lift the Golden Eagles over the visiting Musketeers. Sophomore Carrie Madden assisted Kylie Sprecher’s game-winner as well as Beard’s second strike of the game.

The Musketeers managed just two shots on goal in the contest in the team’s first appearance in the tournament since joining the conference in 2013.  Marquette will face Georgetown in the Big East semifinals in a rematch of last year’s conference championship game.

{NCAA: ACC, SEC tournaments kick off; Stanford three-peats at Pac-12 champions}

Big Ten

Penn State outshoots Rutgers to advance

In a defensive battle, Penn State outlasted the Scarlet Knights after it took a penalty shootout to decide the game. The Nittany Lions took nearly triple the number of shots as Rutgers, recording 21 to the Scarlet Knights’ eight. All told, the two teams have now faced off for 220 minutes this season without a goal conceded by either side.

A standard five-a-side penalty shootout wasn’t even enough to decide this contest. After five rounds, it was tied 3-3. The sixth shooter proved decisive as defender Maddie Elliston got hers past Rutgers’ Casey Murphy while Colby Ciarrocca failed to put her attempt on net. Penn State will face the number one seeded Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals.

Ohio State takes down Iowa

The Rutgers vs Penn State wasn’t the only Big Ten tournament match yesterday that couldn’t be decided in 90 minutes. It took the Buckeyes until the 103rd minute to find the game-winner. It was a beautiful long-distance strike from Sarah Roberts into the upper 90 that decided the match.

Ohio State got out to a 1-0 lead after Eleanor Gabriel scored off a header with Izzy Rodriguez providing a long pass to set up the chance. Iowa fought back in the 73rd minute, scoring off a rebound off a set piece. Morgan Kemerling provided the Hawkeyes’ equalizer with Diane Senkowski credited with the assist. Ohio State will meet Penn State in the conference semifinals.

Late goal lifts Northwestern past Purdue

In another close contest, Northwestern’s Michele Chernesky tallied in the 88th minute to lift the Wildcats over the Boilermakers. The junior midfielder’s strike came indirectly off a set piece.  Just before the tally, Northwestern was awarded a free kick that was taken by Marisa Viggiano. Viggiano’s kick was then headed to Chernesky by Brenna Lovera. This got Chernesky into a one-v-one opportunity with the Purdue keeper, which she slotted home.

Chernesky’s goal was one of the Wildcats 19 shots on the night. Purdue, meanwhile, managed 17 shots in the contest but couldn’t get one past the formidable Northwestern defense. The Wildcats advance to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals Friday.

Wisconsin upsets Minnesota, 2-0

Wisconsin took down the No. 3 seed in the tournament, scoring a goal in each half of play.  Freshman Maia Cella opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of play off a corner kick taken by Sammy Kleedtke. It was Cella’s first tally of the season. The Badgers added an insurance goal in the 67th minute through Dani Rhodes, whose strike came when the sophomore deflected a goal kick taken by Gophers keeper Kailee Sharp.

Meanwhile, Minnesota rarely challenged Wisconsin while on offense, finishing the match with no shots on goal. The Gophers’ best opportunity came in the second half just before the Badgers’ second goal when Sydney Squires got an opportunity with just the keeper to beat. Squires squandered the one-v-one chance as she failed to put the attempt on frame. The Badgers will square off against the Wildcats in the next round of the tournament.

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