The No. 24-ranked Purdue soccer team saw its record-breaking 2021 season come to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-1 tie to Notre Dame on Friday afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas. ND advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3.
The Boilermakers finish the season 15-4-3, their second-best record and second-most wins in program history behind only 2007. Purdue made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, and seventh time in program history, and advanced to the second round for the fourth time and first since 2007. The squad went 8-2-0 in the Big Ten and notched a runner-up finish, both tied for their best-ever marks.
"Getting so close to the third round definitely stings right now, but soon we will be able to reflect on this season as a whole, and it was very special," Purdue coach Drew Roff said. "The level of play this team attained, and the consistency of their play throughout the season, was remarkable. The leadership and the chemistry of this group was as good as I have been around, and our ten seniors deserve a great deal of the credit. From where they started their careers to where they finished is a real testament to their commitment and their character. They have left a very meaningful legacy and they have laid the groundwork for future success. The bar has been raised."
Purdue is now 4-4-4 all-time in NCAA postseason play, and joins the 2002, 2003 and 2007 teams as the only ones to advance past the first round.
Friday's tie marks the final game for nine Boilermaker seniors: Marisa Bova, Sydney Duarte, Skylar Giacobetti, Sarah Griffith, Teagan Jones, Maya Lambert, Aly Mielke, Ally Mussallem and Grace Walsh.
Among the numerous record-book performances during the 2021 campaign are Griffith's 16 goals and Bova's 113 saves, both the most in a single season in team history.
Sophomore midfielder Emily Mathews scored Purdue's goal on Friday, assisted by Griffith in the seventh minute. Notre Dame answered with the tying goal in the 28th minute, and neither team would score the remainder of the match. In penalty kicks, the Fighting Irish (14-5-2) advanced, 4-3.
In 110 minutes, Notre Dame had 31 shots to Purdue's 15, though both teams had several good chances to break the tie. ND had an 11-5 advantage in shots on goal, and the Fighting Irish had a 12-4 edge in corners.
Griffith and freshman forward Gracie Dunaway each had four shots and one shot on goal. Mussallem and Mathews both had two shots, one on target.
"Our team played a fantastic game tonight, and I couldn't be more proud of how we played and competed," Roff added. "We defended with discipline and toughness, and we had several great sequences on the ball that resulted in scoring chances. Our players left it all out on the field, and as their coach, I can't ask for any more than that."
Purdue took a 1-0 lead at 6:20 on Mathews' sixth goal of the season. Dunaway centered a ball to Duarte approximately 30 yards out, and Duarte one-touched it to her left, into the near corner of the 18-yard box to find Griffith. She dribbled forward and to her right and fired a right-footed shot from eight yards out. Notre Dame's keeper made a diving stop on the ball coming across towards the far post, but she deflected it right to Mathews, who buried the rebound.
Griffith's assist was her third in 2021 and her 35th point, second-most in school history.
Purdue's 1-0 lead held until the 28th minute, when the Olivia Wingate scored at 27:52. On a free kick from outside the box, the ball hit the left post and was tapped in.
Bova made six saves in the opening 45 minutes to preserve the 1-1 contest.
In the second half, both teams had two shots on goal. Bova made a big save early, and then the defense forced two shots to hit the post. Dunaway followed with a shot wide on the ensuing counter attack to cap the opening 12 minutes.
As Purdue earned two corners in succession, Mussallem had a shot that hit off the crossbar in the 65th minute. The Boilermakers continued to have chances as the half continued, but could not get a great opportunity on goal. In the final minutes, freshman forward Sydney Boudreau's header was just wide on a nice cross in by Mathews.
Both teams had two shots in the first overtime, as each had one blocked and Bova made another save.
In the second overtime, ND had two shots and Purdue one, while Bova made one save.
As the game officially was recorded as a tie, a penalty kick shutout followed. Griffith and Notre Dame's scorer each converted in the opening round, and Mathews scored and Bova made a save in round two. In the third round, Walsh and Notre Dame's scorer both found the back of the net.
In the fourth round, Purdue's shot was saved and Notre Dame scored to make it 3-3. The fifth and final round saw Purdue's shot stopped and an ND score for a 4-3 final.