WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Goals from Hannah Melchiorre and Maddy Williams in their first and final season openers as Boilermakers propelled Purdue women's soccer to a 2-1 victory vs. Kent State on Friday at Folk Field.
The Boilermakers won their season opener for the sixth time in the last seven years, posting their third victory of the month against a team that won at least 10 games last season. Kent State was 15-3-2 a year ago. Including Saturday's preseason victory against Iowa State, Purdue has now found a way to win 10 times when conceding a goal under third-year head coach Drew Roff.
Williams' 25th career goal doubled as her seventh game winner. Back in the lineup after a knee injury sidelined her for all of 2016, she has scored in the second half of all three games this month. Friday, she joined Annette Kent as the only players in program history to score in at least three different season openers.
Melchiorre became the first freshman to account for the Boilermakers' first goal of a season since Erika Arkans in 2014. However, Alex Hairston (in 2011) was the last Purdue freshman to score the team's first goal of a new campaign in a season opener.
Katie Luce made a pair of timely first-half saves on dangerous free kicks. As just the third freshman goalkeeper to start a season opener for the Boilermakers, Luce finished with six saves. That total ranks as the most by a Purdue keeper of any year in an opener since Clara Kridler made eight saves in a 2011 win at Toledo.
A goal in the 43rd minute allowed the Golden Flashes to equalize shortly before halftime. Mackenzie Lesnick served a well-placed corner kick directly in front of the net. Purdue's Alyssa Lum won the ball but her clearance attempt caromed into the top netting of the goal to tie the score at 1-1.
Update: Originally ruled an own goal during the game, after video review Kent State's score was changed to a goal for Lesnick. Video showed the ball had already crossed the goal line when it made contact with Lum, whose foot was inside the goal as she attempted to clear it.
Luce had made the second of her two punch saves moments earlier to set up the visitors' third and final corner kick of the second half. She got a hand on a free kick off the foot of Karly Hellstrom, but the ball still glanced off the crossbar before bouncing over. It was a similar free kick by Kent State's Kristen Brots that forced Luce to make her first quality save of the night in the 29th minute.
Melchiorre was able to score with a shot from 12 yards out on the right flank that snuck between the legs of KSU goalkeeper Ashleah McDonald. Williams also scored from the left flank but from a much tighter angle, beating McDonald to the near side with a quick strike from about eight yards out inside the left post.
Luce's finest save of the second half was made in the 49th minute, diving to her left to snare a shot by Donavan Capehart from inside the 18-yard box.
Sarah Clark, Sarah Griffith, Kylie Hase, Vanessa Korolas, Maya Lambert and Hannah Mussallem all went the distance among the Purdue field players. Freshman Katie Stephens was the first Boilermakers off the bench in both halves and logged 21 minutes to lead the reserves.
Purdue closes out its season-opening weekend with a rare Monday game -- its first since 2009 -- hosting Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. to cap the first day of classes on campus. LMU dropped its season opener at Rutgers 3-0 Friday.