Aug. 19, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's soccer team begins its 2009 campaign Friday at home against Ohio.
"We're really excited about the opportunity to play outside competition," head coach Robert Klatte said. "We've been training and competing against ourselves for the last two weeks. I feel Ohio University will provide us a good initial test, and we will be able to judge where we stand individually and as a team."
The Aug. 21 date marks the earliest start for a Purdue soccer season. The previous earliest date was last season's Aug. 22 opener when the Boilermakers traveled to Kansas.
Purdue returns 19 letterwinners and 10 starters from last year's team that put together a 12-7-3 overall record and was 5-3-2 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers earned the third seed for the Big Ten Tournament and defeated Ohio State before falling to second-seeded Minnesota in the semifinal round.
Loredana Riverso, who scored a school-record 13 goals in 2007 and ranks fifth on Purdue's career lists in goals, assists and points, headlines the returning Boilermakers. Purdue also welcomes back co-captain Jessica Okoroafo, who missed all but four games last season while battling an injury. Okoroafo ranks fourth on the program's career lists in goals and points and also ranks second in with 12 career game-winning goals.
Senior co-captain Jenny Bradfisch leads an extremely stingy defense from her position in goal. The Carmel, Ind., native has a 0.60 goals-against average for her career, including a school-record 0.49 goals-against average during the 2007 season. Bradfisch's 31 career wins also rank second in school history, just 11 behind the program's record of 42.
Senior defenders Sylvia Forbes and Katie Seeger help shore up the back line in front of Bradfisch. With 113 games played between them, Forbes and Seeger have protected Purdue's goal line in all kinds of situations and been part of 26 shutouts in their first three years. Forbes, who started her career at forward, ranks eight on Purdue's career shots list with 132.
Another student-athlete rocketing up the program's lists is Jessica Stellhorn. The junior defender from Noblesville, Ind., already ranks third in school history with six career game-winning assists. The school record of nine is held by Annette Kent, who became Purdue's first All-American in 2003. Stellhorn has evenly distributed her six game-winning assists between her two seasons, and her three game-winning assists from 2007 and 2008 ties for fifth on Purdue's single-season list.
Sophomores Kellie Phillips and Lauren Montenegro are two of the second-year players with more experience than their time in West Lafayette would lead one to believe. Both student-athletes started all 22 games for the Boilermakers in their first collegiate season. Phillips, a Scottsdale, Ariz., native, led the 2008 Boilermakers with eight assists and recorded a school-record streak of four consecutive games with a helper. Montenegro, a native of Diamond Bar, Calif., was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team and selected as a second-team all-conference performer after scoring two game-winning goals and ranking third on the team with a .538 shots-on-goal percentage.
The Boilermakers and Bobcats have met twice previously. In Purdue's inaugural season of 1998, Ohio earned a 3-2 win in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers returned the favor the next season with a 2-1 overtime victory at Ohio.
Ohio brings back 17 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's squad that finished 5-10-3 overall and ninth in the MAC with a 4-5-2 conference mark. The Bobcats defeated Northern Kentucky 2-0 in an exhibition match Monday.
Friday's game begins at 5:30 p.m. ET from the Varsity Soccer Complex. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students age three through college. Season tickets are still available for $30 and $20, respectively, from the Athletic Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility or online at purduesports.com.
For those unable to attend Fridays' game, it will be broadcast on WSHY 1410 AM and at purduesports.com.