Sept. 25, 2013
All-Time Series with Penn State: PSU leads 12-1-1
All-Time Series in University Park: PSU leads 7-0
Last Meeting: #4 PSU 2, Purdue 0 (2012 in West Lafayette)
Last Meeting in University Park: #12 PSU 2, Purdue 0 (2011)
Last Purdue Win: #24 Purdue 3, #13 PSU 1 (2003 in West Lafayette)
All-Time Series with Ohio State: OSU leads 10-9-2
All-Time Series in Columbus: OSU leads 5-3-1
Last Meeting: OSU 1, Purdue 0 (2012 in Columbus)
Last Purdue Win: Purdue 2, OSU 1 (2011 in West Lafayette)
Last Purdue Win in Columbus: #4 Purdue 3, OSU 1 (2007)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- For the first full weekend of Big Ten Conference play, Purdue women's soccer travels east to take on No. 8 Penn State and Ohio State, the league's winners of the regular-season and tournament titles, respectively, a year ago.
Kickoff Thursday evening at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pa., is set for 7 p.m. The Boilermakers (5-3-1, 0-1-0 Big Ten) visit Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus for the second year in a row for Sunday's 1 p.m. matinee. Purdue will be playing at Penn State and Ohio State on the same road trip for the first time since October 2007.
Purdue and Penn State (7-1-1, 1-0-0 Big Ten) have both scored 27 goals in their first nine games to rank second in the Big Ten and eighth nationally this week. Ohio State (6-1-2, 0-0-1 Big Ten) has 15 goals in its nine games but has only surrendered six, the second fewest in the conference.
The Buckeyes host Indiana Thursday at 3 p.m. to begin their week. That game was moved from Friday evening to Thursday afternoon to accommodate live coverage from the Big Ten Network. Purdue and Penn State then opted to move their game to Thursday to matchup their schedules with their opponents this week.
The Boilermakers will be playing their second road game of the season in Ohio Sunday. Columbus-area natives Melissa Casella (Dublin) and Clara Kridler (Upper Arlington) are among the team's six Ohio natives once again returning to their home state this weekend. Kridler, who has started in goal at every Big Ten field during her career, enters the weekend with 199 saves as a Boilermaker. She'll become the fourth Purdue goalkeeper to reach the 200 career saves benchmark this weekend.
Alex Hairston has scored a goal in each of the last four games, becoming the fourth player in program history to find the back of the net in at least four straight contests. Thursday, the junior will look to match Kellie Phillips (2011) and Loredana Riverso's (2007) program record for most consecutive games with a goal. Hairston has recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the first nine games this year.
However, scoring has not come easy for the Boilers in recent seasons in Central Pennsylvania and the capital of Ohio. After getting shut out in six of the last seven overall meetings with PSU, Purdue has not scored at Jeffrey Field since the 2006 Big Ten Tournament. An overtime win against Ohio State at the 2006 Big Ten Tournament, which was hosted by PSU, marked the only time the Boilers have ever tasted victory in University Park.
Having played Ohio State five times in the Big Ten Tournament as well as the program's inaugural 1998 campaign, Purdue has squared off against the Buckeyes more than any other opponent. Sunday's game will be the 22nd all-time meeting. The Boilermakers won seven straight meetings from 2005 through the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, but OSU has turned the tables and won three of the last four. Having lost 1-0 in its last two games at OSU, Purdue will be looking for its first goal and first victory at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium since 2007.
Penn State has won 15 consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles dating back to 1998. The Nittany Lions were the national runner-up last season. This fall, their only loss has been to undefeated (9-0) and now No. 1-ranked Virginia.
Penn State needed overtime to defeat Northwestern in last weekend's Big Ten opener in Central Pennsylvania. The Wildcats held the lead for more than 75 minutes and were up 2-0 after Kate Allen scored her second goal of the night in the 78th minute. The Nittany Lions roared back with two goals in just over four minutes to send the game to overtime. Whitney Church, the 2012 Big Ten Defender of the Year, scored the golden goal for PSU in the 107th minute, her second goal of the night.
Senior Maya Hayes leads the Big Ten with 10 goals and has scored 63 in her PSU career, third most in conference history. But like Purdue, the Nittany Lions are not enjoying their finest year defensively and have already surrendered multiple goals in a game five times.
Ohio State was the Big Ten's hottest team the second half of last season, culminating with a Big Ten Tournament title. The Boilermakers visited Columbus on Oct. 7; both teams entered the game with seven overall wins and a 2-2-1 mark in conference play. Ohio State won the game, 1-0, its first of nine consecutive victories. Purdue went the opposite direction and lost its last six games.
After surrendering three goals in their first two games, both victories, the Buckeyes have given up only three goals in their last seven. An equalizer in the 84th minute last weekend helped OSU salvage a 1-1 draw with Illinois in its Big Ten opener.
Nichelle Prince, a freshman from Canada, leads the way with five goals and four assists, impacting nine of OSU's 15 scores entering the week. Goalkeepers Jillian McVicker and Rachel Middleman are part of a true platoon. Both players have seen action in each of the first nine games and logged over 400 minutes apiece. McVicker (0.41 GAA, 20 saves) has compiled the better numbers even though Middleman (0.87 GAA, 16 saves) has started all nine games.
Following this weekend's road trip, Purdue plays five of its next seven games at home.