WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A vastly improved defense for Purdue women's soccer in 2014 was not enough to overcome a drastic drop in goal scoring and another extended late-season skid that brought the team's campaign to end before the postseason again.
With 26 goals against, the Boilermakers (6-11-2, 2-10-1 Big Ten) conceded 17 fewer goals than in 2013. But the 19 goals they scored were the fewest in program history and 15 less than a year ago.
Purdue had a 6-2-1 record after winning at Northwestern in overtime Sept. 19. But it proved to be the team's final win of the year. The nine-game losing streak that followed represented the longest in program history. The Boilermakers finished the season with a draw against No. 25 Michigan, the fifth nationally ranked conference rival they played in 2014.
Following the season it was announced that 17th-year head coach and program architect Robert Klatte would not have his contract renewed. Klatte started the program in 1997, leading Purdue to 175 wins while coaching over 340 games and 150 student-athletes. He was a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2002 and 2007) and led the Boilers to 10 consecutive seasons of 10-plus wins from 2000-09, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament six times during that stretch. But a 6-29-1 record after Oct. 1 the last five seasons was the primary culprit of an overall mark of 31-54-9 from 2010-14.
The 17 fewer goals conceded marked the best year-to-year improvment in program history. But the defense had little margin for error this fall after Purdue was shut out nine times to match the 1999 team for its most ever. Six of the 11 losses -- including five at home -- came in 1-0 fashion, another program high. Only once before (22 goals in 2004) had the Boilers failed to score at least 25 goals in a season, much less 20.
The quartet of Mikayla Lasky (played all 1764 minutes), Mollie Kuramoto (1738), Kim Love (1734) and Vanessa Korolas (1675) were iron women defensively while playing in front of three different starting goalkeepers. Prior to this season, Purdue had never had three goalkeepers start in one season. Due to injuries, it had already happened five games into 2014. Erika Yohn (774 minutes), Jordan Ginther (647) and Maddy Olsen (342) all ended up seeing action in at least five games. The underclassman trio teamed up to rank the Boilers second in saves (95) in the Big Ten through the end of the regular season.
Alex Hairston recorded her 23rd career assist on a goal by Makaela Nellams Oct. 2 in Purdue's first meeting with Big Ten newcomer Maryland to eclipse Lauren Sesselmann's program record that had stood since 2005. It was the first prominent career record to change hands since Jessica Okoroafo broke Sesselmann's goals mark in 2009. Hairston finished her career having played in all 77 games over the last four years, starting all but one. She'll also graduate with Purdue records for multi-assist games (5) and most consecutive games with a point (7).
Maddy Williams starred in a Sept. 14 BTN-televised win against Ohio State, 3-1. The sophomore scored Purdue's first two goals of the game, giving her 15 in 26 career games to become the fastest player in program history to reach 15 goals. However, she did not score again until the season finale. Williams did finish the year as the team leader with six goals, becoming the first underclassman to lead the team in goals in consecutive years since Okoroafo in 2005-06.
As a freshman, Erika Arkans scored in her collegiate debut, accounted for the Boilers' first goal of the season, posted a multi-goal game (Aug. 31 vs. SIUE) and scored an overtime game-winner (Sept. 19 at Northwestern). She became the sixth freshman in program history to account for the team's first goal of a campaign. Arkans and classmate Nicole Robertson both scored in the Aug. 24 win against Ohio, marking the first time two Boilers each scored their first collegiate goals in the same game since September 2011. Soraya Toppin-Herbert (Aug. 29 vs. Ball State), Delia Repasky (Sept. 4 at Marshall) and Makaela Nellams (Sept. 14 vs. Ohio State) were the other Purdue players to score their first collegiate goals in 2014.
Arkans' golden goal in the 104th minute in Evanston lifted the Boilers to their 11th straight victory vs. Northwestern, extending the longest win streak against any opponent in program history. Coincidentally, the streak began with a double overtime victory in Evanston in 2005. It was also Purdue's third straight season with an overtime road win.
Repasky's goal in her season debut Sept. 4 at Marshall helped the Boilers rally for a 2-1 victory after conceding the game's first score. It marked the first time Purdue had won a road game in regulation after going down 1-0 since September 2010 at Colorado.
The week of Nov. 5-9, the Boilermaker Soccer Complex served as the host site of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2001. In the spring of 2014, the complex was recognized as a Fields of Excellence award winner by Pioneer Athletics and hosted an Indy Eleven-Chicago Fire pro soccer friendly.
The 2014 Big Ten Tournament featured the lower-seeded teams winning three of the four quarterfinals, highlighted by eighth-seeded Northwestern's 1-0 upset of regular-season champ Penn State. The Wildcats became the first No. 8 seed to win outright since 2002. No. 2 seed Wisconsin was the only higher-seeded team to advance and went on to defeat fifth-seeded Iowa in overtime in the championship game, marking the first OT final since the Boilermaker Soccer Complex last hosted the event in 2001. It was also the first time the No. 2 and 5 seeds met in the final since Purdue defeated Ohio State in St. Paul in 2007.
The Boilermakers will have to bid adieu to seniors Taylor Niewoit, Hairston, Kuramoto and Toppin-Herbert, but are scheduled to return six full-time starters -- including its entire backline -- for the 2015 season. Seventeen players that started at least one game in 2014 have eligibility remaining. The 20 players to start at least once this season matched the 2001 team for the most in program history.
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NEW PROGRAM RECORDS
Career Assists -- Alex Hairston, 23
Fastest to 15 Career Goals -- Maddy Williams, 26 Games
Most Players to Start at Least Once -- 20 (Tied with 2001)
Fewest Goals Scores -- 19
Biggest Drop in Goals Conceded (vs. Previous Year) -- 17
Most 1-0 Losses -- 6
Most Shutout Losses -- 9 (Tied with 1999)
Longest Losing Streak -- 9
BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Erika Arkans, Sept. 3
BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN (3.0+ GPA)
|2014 BIG TEN TOURNAMENT|
|Wednesday, November 5|
|Time||Quarterfinals - BTN Plus on BTN2Go||Links|
|10:30 a.m. ET||#5 Iowa 1, #4 Rutgers 0||| BTN Plus Webcast | Boxscore|
|1:30 p.m. ET||#8 Northwestern 1, #1 Penn State 0||| BTN Plus Webcast | Boxscore|
|4:30 p.m. ET||#2 Wisconsin 2, #7 Illinois 0||| BTN Plus Webcast | Boxscore|
|7:30 p.m. ET||#6 Minnesota 1, #3 Michigan 0 (OT)||| BTN Plus Webcast | Boxscore|
|Friday, November 7|
|Time||Semifinals - BTN & BTN2Go||Links|
|11 a.m. ET||#5 Iowa 1, #8 Northwestern 0||| BTN2Go Webcast | Boxscore|
|2 p.m. ET||#2 Wisconsin 1, #6 Minnesota 0||| BTN2Go Webcast | Boxscore|
|Sunday, November 9|
|Time||Final - BTN & BTN2Go||Links|
|3 p.m. ET||#2 Wisconsin 1, #5 Iowa 0 (OT)||| BTN2Go Webcast | Boxscore|