Sept. 11, 2012
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue women's soccer's home-and-away week features a pair of quality opponents, including a visit from Central Michigan for Wednesday's homestand finale and a road trip to Michigan State for Sunday's Big Ten Conference opener.
It will be Military Appreciation Night at the Varsity Soccer Complex Wednesday evening. Fans with military or American Legion ID cards, or those that attend the game in uniform will receive $1 tickets and be recognized at halftime of the 7 p.m. contest. The Boilermakers are currently 2-1-1 on their five-game homestand, which was abbreviated by one game after the Sept. 7 match against Milwaukee was postponed due to storms.
Purdue (4-2-1) opens Big Ten play against Michigan State (5-1-1) for the second year in a row. The noon kickoff Sunday will be game one of a Michigan State soccer doubleheader. The MSU men host Marquette in the nightcap.
Last year, the Spartans were a 2-1 winner at the Varsity Soccer Complex after scoring the game-winning goal in the 81st minute. The result snapped the Boilers' 10-game (8-0-2) unbeaten streak in Big Ten openers dating back to 2001. Sunday, Purdue will be in search of its first victory in East Lansing since 2007. Michigan State also plays Wednesday, hosting Western Michigan.
Alex Hairston, who enters the week leading the Big Ten with six assists, accounted for the Boilers' goal in last season's game with Michigan State. She is one of five active Purdue players that have scored in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Clara Kridler made the first of her 27 career starts in East Lansing two years ago. Purdue was shutout 2-0 on that October Sunday, suffering its first loss in East Lansing since 1999.
Central Michigan (4-2-1) is ranked third in the NSCAA Great Lakes Region Top 10 as one of only two non-Big Ten teams in this week's rankings. Michigan State is ranked seventh.
The Chippewas have challenged themselves with a road-heavy nonconference schedule that has featured three games against opponents ranked among the Top 15 nationally. Central Michigan's lone home game, Aug. 19 against Evansville, was canceled after 30 minutes of action due to inclement weather. The rain out cost the Chippewas a potential win; they held a 2-0 lead when the game was stopped. Central Michigan also has a 2-0 victory against common opponent West Virginia, but was blown out, 5-0, in its game at Penn State.
The Chippewas have already had seven different players score a goal, and had two goalkeepers make starts. Laura Twidle has scored with two of her five shots on goal and both scores proved to be game-winners.
Michigan State has scored multiple goals in each of its first five wins, but got shutout in the two games it did not win. Nine different players have accounted for MSU's 13 goals. The Spartans lost their leading goal scorer (Laura Heyboer, 18 goals) and starting goalkeeper (Jill Flietstra, now an assistant coach) from a year ago to graduation. Heyboer scored both MSU goals in the win at Purdue last season.
Michigan State did welcome back 2011 All-Big Ten defenders Annie Steinlage and Jordan Mueller as well as forward Oliver Stander (two goals, five assists), who has impacted seven of MSU's 13 goals so far this season. Courtney Clem has taken over as the starting goalkeeper.
Purdue returns to the state of Michigan for its final Big Ten road game, Oct. 14 at Michigan.