WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Alex Hairston accounted for a second-half equalizer but Michigan State's Laura Heyboer scored twice against Purdue women's soccer for the second year in a row to defeat the Boilers, 2-1, in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Soccer Complex.
Purdue (3-6-1, 0-1 Big Ten) dropped its conference opener for the first time since 2000. The Spartans (8-1, 1-0 Big Ten) have won eight straight since losing their season opener to a now nationally-ranked Milwaukee team.
Heyboer scored her Big Ten-leading 12th and 13th goals of the year in the 59th and 81st minutes. Hairston tied the game with her team-leading fourth score of the year in the 68th minute. Both Hairston's equalizer and Heyboer's game-winner came on headers after right-to-left crosses.
Katie Leinert hit the crossbar with a shot from the left flank for the Boilers moments after action restarted following Heyboer's second goal. Purdue also had the last of its four corner kicks in the final seconds of the games, but Lauren Montenegro's header in the heart of the 18-yard box went wide right.
Mollie Kuramoto setup Hairston's goal with a right-to-left cross from the endline to the front of the net, registering her team-leading fourth assist of the year. Kuramoto has assisted on four of Purdue's last seven goals over the last four games.
Heyboer used a well-timed run through the middle of the field to break free from the Boilers' back row and setup a 1-v-1 chance against goalkeeper Clara Kridler. Heyboer controlled a well-placed pass from Hannah Peterson and scored with a ground shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
Olivia Stander setup Heyboer's game-winner with a right-to-left cross from the northeast corner of the field. Heyboer was unmarked near the left post and easily headed the ball into the net.
Kridler made the top save of the game in the 16th minute when she punched a shot over the crossbar. Stander floated the shot from the left flank that would have gone into the top left corner. The save led to the only first-half corner kick opportunity for either team. Kridler finished with five saves, MSU's Jill Flietstra three.
Center backs Brookley Rogers and Jessica Warren went the distance among the Purdue field players. Hadley Stuart logged 40 minutes to lead the eight Boilers that saw action off the bench. The Spartans only used three reserves as six of their field players went the distance.
Hairston scored for the second game in a row and has now accounted for three of Purdue's nine goals during the current eight-game homestand. However, Sunday's game marked the first time the Boilers have lost when the freshman has scored.
The loss snapped Purdue's 10-game (8-0-2) unbeaten streak in Big Ten openers. The Boilermakers are now 2-3-1 on their homestand. Sunday's loss was Purdue's first in regulation of the homestand.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday against Nebraska. It will be the first Purdue-Nebraska game across all sports with the Huskers being a member of the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska last visited the Varsity Soccer Complex in September 2005 for a game won by the Boilers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be Purdue's first Big Ten home game under the lights.