Sept. 26, 2012
Game Notes | Listen | Watch Sunday | Game Day Central (with live links)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue women's soccer continues Big Ten play with its first home weekend of the conference season, welcoming Northwestern and Illinois to the Boilermaker Soccer Complex to close out the month of September.
Friday's 7 p.m. game against Northwestern will feature $1 tickets for Purdue faculty and staff with a valid ID. The Boilermakers will host a postgame kids clinic after Sunday's 1 p.m. game against Illinois. Children eighth grade and younger interested in participating in the clinic will receive free admission to the game but are asked to pre-register. Fans with a Purdue-Marshall football game ticket stub will receive $1 admission Sunday. Click HERE for more information about the weekend promotions.
The Boilermakers (6-4-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten) are slated to play five of their eight remaining Big Ten games at home after opening the conference season with three straight matches on the road. Both Northwestern (4-5-2, 0-3-0 Big Ten) and Illinois (5-4-1, 2-1-0 Big Ten) were at home for their first three league games. The Fighting Illini play at Indiana Friday evening.
Entering the weekend, Purdue has scored a goal in seven consecutive games, the team's longest single-season streak since the 2009 team found the back of the net in its first 12 games. Six different Boilers have scored goals during the seven-game streak, helping Purdue record 15 goals in the seven games and outscore the opposition, 15-8. The Boilermakers have recorded multiple goals in six of the seven games.
But injuries and absences have also had a significant impact on the roster as of late. With Mollie Kuramoto already out for the season due to a knee injury suffered in the spring, Purdue was also without four other players with starting experience in the Sept. 23 loss at Iowa. Sixteen of the 22 players that have seen action this year have started at least once and the Boilers have used eight different starting lineups in their first 11 games. Only five players have started all 11 games, with three others also playing in all 11.
Purdue is 5-1-1 at home this season, scoring multiple goals in every game but the Aug. 29 loss to Butler, which marked the only time this year the Boilers have been shutout. The home team has dominated the annual Purdue-Illinois series. The Boilermakers are 4-0-2 all-time against the Fighting Illini in West Lafayette, but 0-8 vs. Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. The Illini have not visited West Lafayette since 2009.
The Boilermakers enter the weekend riding an eight-game win streak against Northwestern dating back to 2005. That represents not only Purdue's longest active win streak against any opponent, but also the longest in the history of the program. Previously, the Boilers posted seven-game win streaks against Indiana (2000-04), Minnesota (2001-07) and Ohio State (2005-08). Purdue has outscored Northwestern 18-4 during the streak.
But the Wildcats are now under the leadership of former Milwaukee head coach Michael Moynihan. The only new head coach around the Big Ten this season led UWM to 13 Horizon League titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances in his 19 seasons up the lake front in Milwaukee. Northwestern won its first two games this season to already match the team's victory total of a year ago. But after carrying a 4-2-1 record into their Big Ten opener, the Wildcats have gone 0-3-1 while scoring just two goals in the four games.
Alex Hairston scored the game-winning goal for Purdue in last season's victory at Northwestern. Jessica Warren did likewise in a 1-0 home win against the Wildcats in 2010, a game that doubled as the last time Purdue shut out a Big Ten opponent.
Kate Allen has scored six of Northwestern's 14 goals this season. Goalkeepers Anna Cassell and Rachel Bergman have both seen time as the starter this year, but it has been Cassell in tahe starting lineup since Big Ten play kicked off.
Illinois finished second in the Big Ten in 2011, won the Big Ten Tournament and defeated Notre Dame in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Fighting Illini played all seven of their nonconference games this season without their best player and head coach. Vanessa DiBernardo and Janet Rayfield were in Japan during Team USA's run to the U20 World Cup title. DiBernardo started all six games and scored one goal while Rayfield served as an assistant coach.
With DiBernardo and Rayfield back in the mix, Illinois opened Big Ten play with home wins against Iowa and Ohio State. But Penn State scored three times in the first 18 minutes Sunday, rolling to a 4-0 victory in a rematch of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament title game.
The Fighting Illini have scored just nine goals in their first 10 games. Their challenging nonconference schedule featured games against nationally-ranked foes UCLA, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Illinois surrendered only four goals in the three losses, but got shutout each time. Goalkeeper Steph Panozzo has played every minute of the season thus far, one of only two `keepers around the Big Ten to accomplish the feat this year.