Big Ten Tourney Hosting Duties Highlight Boilers' 2014 Schedule

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Senior Alex Hairston has started 58 of the 59 games in her first three seasons as a Boilermaker.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Senior Alex Hairston has started 58 of the 59 games in her first three seasons as a Boilermaker.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

June 25, 2014


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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Eleven regular-season home games along with the opportunity to host the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2001 highlights Purdue women's soccer's 2014 schedule, announced by head coach Robert Klatte.

The Boilermakers have the advantage of playing seven of their 13 conference games at home this year, hosting Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana and Michigan.

The first week of November the top eight teams in the final conference standings will visit the Boilermaker Soccer Complex for the seven-game Big Ten Tournament. Four quarterfinal games will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 5. Semifinals are set for Friday, Nov. 7 and the championship game will be contested Sunday, Nov. 9. The tournament host no longer receives an automatic bid, a rule that was changed after Northwestern got a bid as the host in 2011 despite finishing in last place.

Purdue women's soccer and Purdue volleyball both visit Maryland and Rutgers the first weekend of October, marking the first Big Ten competitions for all Boilermaker teams vs. the newest additions to the league. Maryland and Rutgers also represent first-time foes for Klatte's crew. Purdue will visit College Park Thursday, Oct. 2 and Piscataway Township Sunday, Oct. 5.

Maryland and Rutgers qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2013. Seven Big Ten teams also earned NCAA Tournament berths a year ago. All eight teams that qualify for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament could be NCAA Tournament bound regardless of how they fare in the conference tourney. Not only will be the Big Ten Tournament at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex be an excellent showcase of some of the nation's premier teams, but the eight-week conference schedule should be as competitive as ever.

Purdue opens the regular season with the Boilermaker Challenge Cup for the second year in a row. The 14th edition of the four-team tournament will also feature Miami (Ohio), Ohio and Butler this year. The Boilermakers will take on Miami in their Friday, Aug. 22 season opener and Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 24 in the final game of the tournament. Butler will play Ohio Friday and Miami Sunday.

With the conference schedule increasing from 11 to 13 games, the start date of league play has moved up to Friday, Sept. 12. That will be the earliest the Boilers have ever opened the Big Ten season. Penn State and Ohio State visit West Lafayette for the conference-opening weekend.

Purdue's final three regular-season home games are all set for Saturday evenings, hosting Michigan State (Oct. 11), Indiana (Oct. 25) and Michigan (Nov. 1) for its single-game weekends in the conference schedule. The Boilermakers hosted Louisville for a Saturday afternoon exhibition game in August of last year, but have not played a regular-season home game on a Saturday since Labor Day Weekend of 2009 (vs. Valparaiso).

Along with the East Coast road trip to Maryland and Rutgers, other road trips on the Boilers' schedule include: Marshall-Youngstown State (Sept. 4-7) to close out non-conference play, Northwestern-Illinois (Sept. 19-21) and Nebraska-Iowa (Oct. 17-19).

Purdue is scheduled to play at Iowa for the third year in a row and fourth time in the last five years. Conversely, Indiana and Wisconsin are both scheduled to visit West Lafayette for the fourth time in five years, including the third year in a row for the Badgers.

SIU Edwardsville (Aug. 31) and Youngstown State (Sept. 7) represent the first-time opponents among the non-conference schedule. Purdue has played Marshall only once before (2003) and has not played in the state of West Virginia since losing at WVU during the season-opening weekend of 2011.

The Boilermakers are scheduled to play an Aug. 15 exhibition game at Illinois State, another 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier. Prior to last season's game with Louisville, Purdue had not played an official preseason exhibition game since 2005.