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Ohio State women’s soccer crashes out of Big Ten tourney with loss to Illinois

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Just one season removed from a berth in the 2010 NCAA College Cup — the Final Four of college soccer — Ohio State women’s soccer saw its 2011 Big Ten tournament run come crashing down Wednesday after a first-round loss to No. 2-seed Illinois.

With the scored tied after 90 minutes, 1-1, No. 7-seed OSU forced the contest to penalty kicks after two scoreless overtime periods. The Illini dispatched the Buckeyes in penalty kicks, 4-2, at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field to advance.

In what may have been her final game in Scarlet and Gray, OSU senior forward Paige Maxwell put the Buckeyes up, 1-0, in the 16th minute. The goal was the fourth of the year for Maxwell.

Illinois outshot OSU, 8-3, in the first half and prevented the Buckeyes from getting to halftime with its slim advantage intact. Illini sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo tied the game in 41st minute with a free-kick goal.

Wednesday’s match was a physical one — referee Miguel Panduro Jr. called 40 total fouls in the contest — but the bumping and tackling ended after the teams remained scoreless the second half and two 10-minute overtime sessions.

The focus shifted to the penalty spot where Illinois converted all four of its kicks. Buckeyes’ senior defender Liz Sullivan and sophomore midfielder Kristen Niederhaus were denied by to secure the win for Illinois.

The Buckeyes finish the 2011 Big Ten season with a 10-8-2 record.

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