WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue women's soccer faces some formidable opponents during the second half of its current six-game homestand, which kicks off this weekend with games against Milwaukee and West Virginia.
Currently 2-1 on their homestand and 4-2 overall this season, the Boilers host Horizon League preseason co-favorite Milwaukee (1-3-1) Friday at 7 p.m. The game has been designated a "Red Card Hunger" game. Fans that donate at least two non-perishable food items will be entered to win a Purdue prize pack.
Sunday, the Boilers host West Virginia (2-3-1) for the first time since 2000 at 1 p.m. The Mountaineers opened some eyes nationally when they defeated defending national champion Stanford Aug. 26 at a tournament hosted by Penn State while the Cardinal was ranked No. 1 in national polls. Weather permitting, Purdue is scheduled to host a postgame autograph session Sunday.
Friday marks the beginning of a stretch of three games in six days for the Boilers. The homestand concludes Wednesday, Sept. 12 against a quality Central Michigan (3-1-1) side. Big Ten play gets underway Friday, Sept. 14 with a Nebraska-Northwestern matchup in Evanston and Purdue opens its league schedule Sunday, Sept. 16 at Michigan State.
The first half of the six-game homestand featured two shutout wins, consecutive multi-assist efforts from Alex Hairston and Jordan Pawlik's natural hat trick. Thanks in part to its first set of consecutive shutout victories since October 2009, the Boilers have surrendered only two goals in 466 minutes of action at the Varsity Soccer Complex so far this season.
Hairston became only the fourth player in program history, and first since 2007, to post consecutive multi-assist efforts. Pawlik's hat trick was the fourth by a Boiler but also the fourth in less than a calendar year at the Varsity Soccer Complex (including opponents). Pawlik is also the first Purdue player with two multi-goal games in the same season since 2007.
Milwaukee was among the best teams in the country a season ago, winning 19 games and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Ohio State. But gone are All-American Sarah Hagen (26 goals) and head coach Michael Moynihan (Northwestern). New head coach Greg Henschel took over the program after having success as both the men's and women's coach at UW-Whitewater for more than a decade.
Milwaukee is currently in the midst of a stretch of three consecutive games against Big Ten opponents. The Panthers lost Monday at Illinois, 3-1, and host Wisconsin Sept. 12. UWM played a quality South Carolina team to a season-opening scoreless draw at home but has given up three or more goals in each of its last three games.
West Virginia defeated Purdue last season in Morgantown, 3-0. The Mountaineers blew the game open late with two goals in the final 11 minutes. WVU also qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament after winning the Big Easte Tournament, but is now a member of the Big 12 Conference. West Virginia hosts Duquesne Thursday evening before making the trip to West Lafayette for its lone true road game of the nonconference portion of the schedule.
In their upset of Stanford, the Mountaineers limited the top-ranked team in the nation to just one shot on goal and one corner kick. The Cardinal did out shoot WVU 17-7, but Frances Silva cashed in on a scoring chance in the 83rd minute for the lone goal of the day. Last Friday in Morgantown, WVU took Penn State to overtime but lost in the 109th minute. The Mountaineers then played Miami (Fla.) to a scoreless draw Sunday.