Spring Season Summary: Week 11

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Liz Secue played a tremendous game on defense vs. Texas A&M.
Liz Secue played a tremendous game on defense vs. Texas A&M.

April 3, 2008

By Lindsay Jacki with additional reporting by Chris Macaluso
Purdue sports information office
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - If the Boilermakers hope to return to the NCAA Tournament they'll ‎have to follow the trail blazed by Texas A&M in its 2-1 win over Purdue last Saturday in College ‎Station, Texas.‎

The Aggie forwards were fast, their midfield dynamic and their defense intense. These are ‎characteristics that lifted them to a No. 2 national ranking last November and raised this Spring's ‎record to 5-0-2. ‎

Purdue's preseason record now stands at 4-2.‎

Sophomore forward Cydne Currie scored both goals. She netted her first in the 26th minute as ‎Purdue struggled to elude Aggie defenders. Her second came when the Boilermakers began to ‎tire late in the second half.‎

Felicia Schroeder knotted the score at 1-1 in the 62nd minute, cracking a heavily contested 25-‎yard blast past a diving Kristin Arnold.‎

‎"The game provided us exactly the type of team and environment we needed to face", said ‎Purdue head coach Rob Klatte. "A&M is very good at everything from work ethic to off-the-ball ‎movement. They're the best team we've played this spring. FC Indiana had all the talent, but they ‎weren't dynamic nor as intense defensively as A&M was."‎

The Boilermaker coaching staff provided the assists on Schroeder's goal by making several ‎personnel adjustments after halftime. Bringing forward Loredana Riverso back to play at ‎defensive midfield was the most noticeable transition.‎

Purdue's midfielders were forced into turnovers throughout the first half, which prevented the ‎offense from expanding since they we're chasing back to retrieve. There was little to no attack, ‎but Riverso's presence helped build offensive pressure out of the back by navigating the ball ‎through a minefield of Aggie midfielders and up to the front runners Schroeder and Jessica ‎Okoroafo.‎



Klatte was more than pleased with Riverso's efforts.‎

‎"We were really excited by her performance, not only on the ball but defending it as well," said ‎Klatte of Riverso. "I think she accepted that role as defensive midfielder and really did a good job ‎with it."‎

Another Boilermaker standout from Saturday was sophomore defender Liz Secue, who Klatte ‎described as `phenomenal.' ‎

At center back, Secue was placed into some difficult defending situations and on all but one ‎occasion she came up with the correct response to the Aggie attack. Klatte estimated Secue won ‎‎17 one-on-one battles in which she stuck her opponent each time.‎

‎"If you were going to give out a player of the match award, Liz Secue would get it," Klatte said. ‎‎"The A&M forwards are fast but Liz was a stud. She is a player that can deal with pressure, and ‎once you find the ability to be comfortable in these situations, then you'll make good passing ‎decisions and allow time for everyone else to move and open up."‎

As Purdue heads into its final half month of Spring practices, the coaching staff will find positions ‎where players are at their most confident and can make the best of their attributes. These ‎changes include placing forward Sylvia Forbes at center back and defender Kerri Culley in the ‎central midfield.‎

Senior team captain Amy Burrell supports Klatte's methods for finding the best player at each ‎position.‎

‎"The more diverse every individual player is, the better it is for the team," she said. "You never ‎know what role you're going to need to fulfill in the fall, and it's challenging at the same time ‎because you have to get used to different people at different positions. We're going to have to ‎adapt to 14 new freshmen in the fall anyway so I think it helps."‎

Klatte wants to keep switching in and out players so he can get a grasp on what his players can ‎and can't do. And while some players performed well beyond their expectations Saturday, the ‎deficiencies of others were certainly exposed. ‎

But all this experimentation excites rather than frustrates the 11-year head coach. The teams and ‎environments they've competed against this spring have all demanded excellence, which in turn, ‎has allowed Klatte to evaluate whether certain individuals are prepared for the fall.‎

‎"Matches like this provide feedback to tell whether players are going to be able to step up in the ‎fall and be able to perform under game-like conditions," Klatte said. "A&M came out looking to ‎jump on the game in front of its 300 to 500 fans, set the tone and be the ones to put their stamp ‎on the game. We've got to start to do that as well and I think some of that will come with self-‎belief."‎

The Boilermakers next contest is at West Virginia on Sunday, April 13 for a noon match against a ‎Mountaineer team that finished seventh in the nation in 2007.