In its first game against a ranked opponent this season, Purdue soccer came out looking for a win — and was five minutes away from exactly that against No. 25 West Virginia, only managing a draw.
A scoreless first half heavily favored the Mountaineers, as sophomore goalkeeper Katie Luce faced an incredible 24 shots and made seven saves. Only a sophomore, she is in a unique position where she is already a leader because the team is playing so many freshmen.
Yet the leadership and shots faced didn’t faze her.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Luce said following the match. “But we kind of knew coming in that they were more of a powerhouse team and that we were going to expect those shots, so I just had to be ready. And our whole defensive line had to be ready and they were. They stepped up, they blocked so many shots that could’ve been (shots on goal).”
Head coach Drew Roff had nothing but praise for the keeper, who was named to the preseason Big Ten Honors list.
“She’s so quick off her line, she’s so active,” Roff said. “Her decision-making is really good, communications really good. It’s hard to be a really elite team without great goalkeeping. We’ve got a long ways to go, but that’s one position we feel really good about.”
With three of Purdue’s four starting defenders being freshmen, the expectation of stopping shots and attacks wasn’t too high. Yet that wasn’t the case — the team stopped every attack West Virginia laid on it.
“To start six freshmen and four sophomores, and for them to play with the maturity they did was really fantastic to see,” Roff said following the West Virginia draw.
It wasn’t until the 74th minute that Purdue broke the stalemate with a goal from freshman forward Sydney Duarte, her first career goal. The box was so crowded when the goal was scored that it wasn’t determined who actually scored the goal until a couple of minutes later.
The Mountaineers tied it up 12 minutes later, forcing the Boilermakers to revert to a defensive scheme and maintain a tie.
After regulation, both teams wore down in the two 10-minute overtime periods as neither was able to score a goal.
Against Iowa State on Sunday, Purdue went down late in the first half after Luce came out of the goal for a one-on-one matchup that did not end up in her favor.
In the 84th minute, the Boilers were awarded a penalty kick. Sophomore midfielder Sarah Clark took the penalty kick for the team, converting it to tie the game.
But the most exciting moment came with nine seconds left, as sophomore midfielder Kylie Hase scored a goal to all but seal the victory for Purdue.
The Boilers will take a trip around the Southeastern Conference this weekend as they face Georgia on Thursday night before heading to South Carolina to face the No. 3-ranked Gamecocks.