10/10/21 Soccer Stock, Teagan Jones

The Purdue women’s soccer team looks to bounce back against Northwestern as it returns to Folk Field tonight.

The Boilermakers (11-3-2, 6-2-0 Big Ten) had been on a three-game win streak. They had not lost on the road since their fourth match of the year against Notre Dame, a streak that came to an end in a late 2-1 loss at Penn State on Sunday.

The Nittany Lions’ forwards split through and cause breakdowns in the backline, using rhythmic touch passes to create easy shots against senior goalkeeper Marisa Bova. Moving forward, the Boilermakers aim to “keep the ball at their feet,” said senior midfielder Teagan Jones.

“We defend as a team,” she said. “It’s gotta go through the whole team before it gets anywhere near the goal.”

Jones said she believes the best form of defense is a strong offense. If the Boilers can control the ball and maintain possession against the Wildcats (7-7-1, 3-4-1 Big Ten), Purdue will limit their opponent’s opportunities while also increasing their own.

Northwestern is also an athletic, deep team, Jones said. Purdue will try to keep the Wildcats backed up into their own half of the field and put them on their heels.

The Boilermakers have found success offensively the entire year, scoring in all but one match. The team will have a hungry striker in senior forward Sarah Griffith, who is looking for her eighth consecutive game with a goal.

“You can always go to her for an offensive spark,” Jones said about Griffith’s leadership.

Jones and Griffith have also built up a streak of their own. Jones has assisted each of Griffith’s last two goals against Ohio State and Penn State. Another Jones-to-Griffith goal against Northwestern would make it three games in a row.

As solid as their connection is, Jones doesn’t put too much thought into trying to continue their streak.

“We are feeding all of our players up top and hoping any of them score,” Jones said.

Whether or not it will be a feed from Jones, scoring against Northwestern isn’t anything new to Griffith. Last year, she scored the only goal in a Purdue victory over the Wildcats.

Northwestern defender Danika Austin could present some troubles for Griffith, as her speed was on full display in her last two matches. Northwestern’s team Twitter posted a video of her sprinting to catch up to a Wisconsin forward with a breakaway opportunity during a Thursday match.

The Boilers will try to combat her speed with even more speed, Jones said.

“Moving the ball on the ground with passes and such are much faster than anyone can run,” Jones said.

While Jones has excelled in providing her teammates with the right opportunities to score, the forward has had difficulties scoring goals of her own. She scored her lone goal of the year against Iowa, one of her seven shots of that match. While she would be happy to put a few in the back of the net tonight, she said she hopes for a great team win in the end.

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