Continuing the series of Big Ten matchups, Purdue dropped a loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in a tight 1-0 match.
In this weekend’s double header, Purdue (6-4-2, 1-3-3 Big Ten) fell to Minnesota on Friday evening in a 2-1 match. They returned Sunday afternoon to seek retribution against the Badgers (8-2-3, 3-1-3), who came into town with an on-the-road record of 5-1-0 this season.
Coming into the game, senior defender Hannah Mussallem was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her performance against Indiana, where she was on the field for the full 105 minutes and played a vital role in Purdue’s defensive efforts.
Both Purdue and Wisconsin made 10 shots, with sophomore goalkeeper Katie Luce saving five but allowing one to slip through the cracks. With five corner kicks, there were ample opportunities for Purdue to land a ball into the net. Nonetheless, the Boilers came up short.
“We’re close, very close. We haven’t been outclassed, outplayed very much,” said head coach Drew Roff.
“We (have) four games left. We’re just going to continue to bring that fight. ... And until the final whistle blows, this team will not stop fighting and working for each other.”
The Badgers brought the heat at the start of the match, quickly taking control of the field and putting on some pressure. However, several offside calls prevented Wisconsin from scoring right away.
Both teams exchanged early corner kicks with no goals coming to fruition. Neither side wanted to back down, though freshman forwards Skylurr Patrick and Sydney Duarte both had some open shots at the goalkeeper.
It wasn’t until Wisconsin senior forward Emily Borgmann nailed the first score from the far-right post, putting the Badgers up 1-0 with three minutes left in the half.
Just like the first half, the match resumed with neither team securing clear possession of the ball. With 34 minutes left, sophomore defender Sarah Clark went down, which was a temporary loss for Purdue, as Clark is a significant part of the team’s defensive core. Wisconsin took advantage of the weakened Boilers, making two back-to-back close shots before Clark returned to the field.
Purdue turned the tide and got aggressive in the box 70 minutes into the match, making several attempts to get the ball into the net. Freshman midfielder Teagan Jones and Mussallem had a combined three shots at the Badger goalkeeper but yielded no score.
Their desperate plays in the final few minutes couldn’t produce any offensive momentum to convert a last second goal to turn the game into overtime.
Prior to the start of the match, players and coaches lined up to celebrate Senior Day, which recognized senior defenders Dannah Williams and Mussallem for all they’ve contributed to the soccer program. The players were honored for their defensive prowess as well as the accolades they’ve accumulated in their collegiate careers.
Williams wants to leave a legacy behind in the place where she has made a significant impact on her teammates.
“Outside of winning, I want to leave the jersey in the right place. I pride myself on being a good leader and setting a good example for the younger players,” Williams said.
Mussallem, meanwhile, is focused on the future and what she wants to make of her final season as a Boilermaker.
“Putting the ball in the back of the net, and getting that (win) is the biggest goal right now,” she said.
The Boilers will be out of town for their matchups against Illinois on Thursday and Northwestern next Sunday. They’ll return to Folk Field for their final home game of the season against Ohio State on Oct. 18.