Shorthanded Boilers Lose at No. 21 Michigan

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Marta Lynch returned to the lineup Sunday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in the Sept. 21 win at Nebraska.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Marta Lynch returned to the lineup Sunday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in the Sept. 21 win at Nebraska.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 14, 2012

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Without four regular starters for much of the game, Purdue women's soccer battled a Michigan team that is unbeaten at home this season, but the No. 21 Wolverines scored a pair of quality goals to take the match, 2-0, Sunday afternoon.

The Boilermakers (7-7-2, 2-5-1 Big Ten) were shutout for a third consecutive game and saw their scoring drought extend to 359 consecutive minutes. Purdue had not been blanked in three straight games in the same season since September 1999.

Meanwhile, Michigan (13-2-1, 7-0-1 Big Ten) extended its current unbeaten streak to 10 games (9-0-1). The Wolverines posted their Big Ten-leading 11th shutout of the season; seven have come at home in their 10 positive results (9-0-1).

Marta Lynch returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous 5 ½ games due to a knee injury. But Purdue was once again without Jessica Warren and Emma Lancaster after both players were injured Thursday in the loss at Indiana. Jordan Frick suffered an ankle injury in pregame warm-ups and was unable to start for the first time this season, ending her team-long streak of 39 consecutive games started dating back to the end of the 2010 campaign. Hadley Stuart replaced Frick in the starting lineup after being cleared to play during warm-ups. But a quadriceps injury continued to limit Stuart; she left the game in the 10th minute and did not return.

Michigan scored in the 20th and 77th minutes. Meghan Toohey hit a rocket into the top right 90 from the top of the 18-box to open the scoring, recording her third goal of the year. Emily Jaffe later headed in a corner kick, converting on U-M's fifth and final corner chance of the second half for her second goal this year.

Clara Kridler finished with eight saves, increasing her Big Ten-leading total to 74. She made at least four top-notch saves to help keep Purdue in the game. Defensive players Melissa Casella, Makaela Nellams and Lynch also made at least one high-quality defensive play to eliminate scoring chances.

The Boilermakers played their best during the final 10 minutes of the first half, possessing the ball for long stretches and creating two corner kick chances. But shots were otherwise at a premium against the league's top defensive team.

Kridler's best save of the day came on the first shot on goal of the game. On a quick reaction play, Kridler was able to deflect away a one-touch shot by Clare Statchel near the right post. The Purdue goalkeeper later made diving saves on shots by Michigan's leading goal scorer, Nkem Ezurike, in the 21st and 70th minutes. Kridler was also in position to make a point blank save above her head on a shot by Toohey in the 32nd minute.

Kim Love, Tayler Francel, Casella, Lynch and Nellams went the distance among the Purdue field players. Chinyelu Asher logged 75 minutes off the bench to lead the reserves.

Sunday marked the Boilers' final road game of the year. Purdue posted a 1-6 mark away from West Lafayette this season. Granted two of the losses came in overtime, but by only earning three of a possible 18 points while playing six of their 11 Big Ten games on the road this year, Purdue did not help its prospects of qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament.

The Boilermakers conclude the regular season with a three-game homestand and next weekend's games against Wisconsin and Minnesota essentially setup as must wins. Both opponents are also in the thick of the Big Ten Tournament chase. Friday's 7 p.m. game against Wisconsin has been designated as Social Media Night at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex. Sunday versus Minnesota, Purdue will don special jerseys in recognition of autism awareness.