With tensions brewing and a historic rivalry on the line, Purdue soccer clenched a 1-0 double overtime win against longtime foe Indiana University and retained possession of the Golden Boot for the fourth consecutive season.
Purdue (5-3-3, 1-2-2 Big Ten), coming off a loss against Nebraska, fought relentlessly to hold onto its win streak against Indiana (6-3-2, 2-2-1) and secure its first Big Ten win.
On Saturday evening, Folk Field was packed with nearly 1,300 fans sporting “#BeatIU” shirts that didn’t go unnoticed by the Boilers team.
“The environment here was amazing,” head coach Drew Roff said. “Boilermaker Nation showed up and gave us the support we needed.”
Roff has yet to lose to Indiana since taking his position in West Lafayette four years ago. Achieving this win and the Golden Boot meant a lot to him, especially with how important the game was to turning the team’s conference season around.
“I think our team showed great perseverance after a couple of tough results recently,” Roff said. “We showed a lot of quality and character tonight.”
The Boilers’ aggression was evident; the team took 18 shots against Indiana’s 12. On the defensive front, sophomore goalkeeper Katie Luce prevented five goals and the defense held tough against the Hoosiers’ attacks.
Purdue has been making strides with its young team, putting as many as eight freshmen in the starting lineup. This is unheard of in the Big Ten as most teams in the conference don’t utilize a young roster like Purdue’s. For Saturday night’s game, Purdue’s lineup consisted of six freshmen, while its opponents had none.
Senior defender Hannah Mussallem further elaborated on the young team’s capabilities.
“We help them prepare for what to expect, (but) they are just as capable as we are at this level,” Mussallem said.
In the first half, Indiana got off to a hot start. Led by freshman defender Grace Walsh and Mussallem, the Boilermakers held strong and allowed the offense to create some opportunities in the box.
With 21 minutes left, Purdue flipped the switch and put on a massive amount of pressure. Even with Purdue’s steadfast control for the rest of the half and back-to-back corner kicks from sophomore defender Sarah Clark, the Boilers were unable to secure a goal.
In the final minute of the half, Purdue halted one last strike from Indiana, resulting in a scoreless tie.
The second half continued the same way, with change of possession going back and forth and several shots unsuccessfully hitting the net.
Their efforts were fruitless. With neither team backing down, the game went to overtime. Not even the first overtime could settle the score between the rivals.
It wasn’t until five minutes into the second overtime that Clark ended the game with a penalty kick into the left corner of the net.
“I knew that I had to step up and convert,” Clark said.
However, she noted that the team needs to improve on their scoring overall through the run and play.
“We need to work composure when we get one-on-one with the keeper,” Clark said.
Nonetheless, the Boilers kept the streak alive as they walked off the field, hoisting the shiny Golden Boot in the air with the resounding cheers from an ecstatic Boilermaker crowd.
The exhaustive win meant a lot to the players, especially Mussallem and senior defender Dannah Williams, who haven’t lost to Indiana in their Purdue careers.
Mussallem still remembered last year’s game against Indiana, which “felt like a loss,” because Purdue was dominating the entire game only for it to end in a disappointing tie.
“It feels pretty awesome,” said Mussallem. “To get that win against Indiana. ... It’s even better.”
Coming up, Purdue will host Minnesota on Friday evening at Folk Field.