WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Goals from Taylor Niewoit and Chinyelu Asher as well as another shutout effort defensively allowed Purdue women's soccer to close out its five-game homestand on a high note, defeating Central Michigan, 2-0, Wednesday evening at the Varsity Soccer Complex.
The Boilermakers (5-2-1) scored multiple goals for the fourth consecutive game, accomplishing the feat for the first time since November 2007, and posted their fourth shutout win of the season. Purdue finished its season-long homestand with a 3-1-1 mark, recording three positive results after opening the five-game stretch with a 1-0 loss to Butler.
Niewoit scored her second goal as Boiler and first career game-winner in the 56th minute. Alex Hairston and Emma Lancaster helped setup the score. Hairston recorded her Big Ten-leading seventh assist of the season while setting up a goal for a fourth straight game to tie a program record. Asher padded the Purdue lead in the 74th minute with her third goal of the year and sixth career. Hadley Stuart and Shae Desmond assisted on the insurance tally.
Goalkeeper Clara Kridler registered seven saves for the second game in a row while posting her fifth career solo shutout. The Purdue defense was able to keep CMU (4-3-1) off the scoreboard even after losing senior captain and center back Jessica Warren to an ankle injury in the eighth minute, an injury that is also likely to keep her from playing in Sunday's Big Ten opener at Michigan State.
Senior Marta Lynch moved to center back and freshman Makaela Nellams joined Jordan Frick, Kim Love and Lynch on the back row. Warren went down while trying to play the ball forward along the west sideline near the Purdue bench. She had yet to leave the field this season before the injury.
The Boilermakers turned the game around early in the second half. After a lackluster first-half performance in which scoring chances were sparse for both teams, Purdue amped up the possession and attacking pressure in the first 10 minutes after halftime. Niewoit's goal capped a stretch in which Purdue had created a trio of scoring chances. Stuart missed high over the top of a wide open net after the ball caromed to her at the top of the six-yard box following a defender deflecting Niewoit's initial shot. About four minutes later, Hairston hit the left post with a shot and Jordan Pawlik's follow up chance missed high.
Niewoit scored from point blank range near the left post after a slot pass from Hairston left her wide open on the weak side of the action.
Hairston hit the post again, this time the right post, five and a half minutes later, before Asher was able to tack on the insurance goal. Desmond ran down a free ball in the northeast corner of the field before it rolled over the end line. She played a right-to-left serve inside the 18-yard box that connected with Stuart, who proceeded to dribble around multiple CMU players and finally flick a short pass to Asher for an easy tap in.
Kridler's best saves of the night came in the 30th and 48th minutes, keeping the game scoreless in both instances. She dove to right to snare a shot by Laura Gosse near the left post in the first half. Early in the second half, she made a quality 1-v-1 save on Danielle Rotheram after the CMU player had used an extra touch to create the space for a clear shooting lane in the heart of the 18-yard box.
Melissa Casella, Love, Lynch and Stuart went the distance among the Purdue field players. Nellams ended up logging a season-high 82 minutes while finishing the game after replacing Warren. Soraya Toppin-Herbert made her season debut and played 33 minutes off the bench.
Sunday's Big Ten opener at Michigan State is slated for a noon kickoff as game one of an MSU soccer doubleheader. The Big Ten schedule gets underway Friday in Evanston, Ill., as Northwestern host Nebraska. All 12 teams have one conference game on their schedules this weekend.