WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Before opening its program-long eight-game homestand next month, Purdue women's soccer is set for a home-and-away weekend, highlighted by a first-ever visit from No. 24 Oregon State for Friday's home opener at the Varsity Soccer Complex.
Kickoff Friday is slated for 5:30 p.m. The rest of the Friday home games this season are expected to be played under the lights and begin at 7 p.m. Lights have been installed at the Varsity Soccer Complex, but the decision was made last week to wait until next month to play the first-ever night game at Purdue's home facility.
The Boilermakers (1-1) travel to Columbia, Mo., Saturday and take on Missouri (1-1) Sunday at 2 p.m. It will be Purdue's first visit to Walton Stadium in Columbia since 2005. The Tigers host No. 7 Ohio State Friday evening.
Purdue students receive free admission for Friday's home opener. Beginning an hour before the game, a shuttle bus will run on a loop from Ford Dining Hall to the field. The Boilermaker Special will continue to shuttle fans to and from the field (via Ford) throughout the match.
All season, area youth club soccer players also receive free admission when accompanied by a ticket-buying adult.
Oregon State (0-1) will be the first of the four opponents making their inaugural appearances at the Varsity Soccer Complex season. The Boilermakers begin their eight-game homestand next weekend against OSU's Pac-12 Conference rivals, Colorado and USC. Cal State Northridge represents the other new side set to visit West Lafayette this season.
The Beavers enjoyed a big season in 2010, winning a program-record 16 games and finishing second to national runner-up Stanford in the Pac-10. Fourth-year head coach Linus Rhode has led OSU to 30 wins and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances the last two year after the program made the NCAAs only once in its first 21 seasons.
Senior goalkeeper Colleen Boyd played every minute of the 2010 campaign, recording a 0.56 goals against average after surrendering only 12 goals. Oregon State posted shutouts in 14 of its 21 games. Chelsea Buckland is also back after leading the team with 10 goals a year ago.
The Beavers dropped their season opener to No. 5 Florida State, 1-0, last weekend in Corvallis. Oregon State makes the long trip to Indiana this weekend for games against Purdue and Butler, but is not scheduled to travel east of Tucson, Ariz., the remainder of the regular season. A Sept. 2010 visit from No. 7 Texas A&M marked the last time a nationally-ranked nonconference opponent visited the Varsity Soccer Complex.
The Boilermakers have played OSU only once before, winning in Corvallis in 2001. Purdue's lone Oregon native, freshman Alex Hairston (Portland), scored the game-winner in the season-opening win at Toledo last weekend. In doing so, she joined a select group of Boilers to score a goal in their first collegiate games. She's also believed to be the first freshman in program history to a score a game-winner that doubled as the team's first goal of the year.
Metro St. Louis natives Jordan Frick (Kirkwood) and Katie Leinert (Wildwood) return to the Show Me State this weekend for the game at Missouri.
Like Purdue, the Tigers battled through a down season in 2010 after a long stretch of excellence. Missouri won the 2008 Big 12 Conference Tournament title and claimed the regular-season crown in 2009. Mizzou's 7-10-2 mark in 2010 represented its first sub-.500 record since 1997. And the Tigers lost their top two goals scorers to graduation.
But it was a porous defense that ultimately doomed Mizzou in 2010, surrendering 44 goals in its 19 games. New goalkeepers Caroline Stanley and McKenzie Sauerwein have split time in the first two games, a season-opening loss at No. 20 San Diego and a home win against Eastern Illinois Sunday.
The Tigers also played Illinois in exhibition action, battling the Fighting Illini to a 1-1 draw in Columbia. That result looks more impressive after No. 19 Illinois posted back-to-back 5-1 victories against Gonzaga and Toledo last weekend in Champaign-Urbana.