The Purdue women’s soccer team returns to action this fall after a disappointing 2018 season.

The Boilermakers finished last season 6-8-4 overall and 1-7-3 in the Big Ten Conference. Fortunately for head coach Drew Roff, most of the players will return this season and six freshmen are joining.

Saturday evening, the Boilermakers faced the Xavier University Musketeers, tough opponents who were ranked 74th in the preseason RPI poll. The Boilermakers out-shot the Musketeers in the first half of the game, narrowly missing a number of goal-scoring opportunities. At one point, Xavier’s goalkeeper was forced to make three saves in a 30-second time period. Despite the offensive aggressiveness, the Boilermakers lost the match 1-0.

After finishing spring preseason 2-1-2, the Boilermakers have momentum going into the regular season.

The team played its first exhibition match on Tuesday night, winning 1-0 over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Milwaukee was the 2018 Horizon League Champion and ranked 87th on the 2019 preseason RPI poll, 10 spots higher than Purdue. Of the Big Ten teams, Purdue is the fifth lowest, just ahead of Iowa, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State.

The lone goal in the 1-0 victory was scored by junior Sarah Griffith in the 83rd minute. Roff played three of his freshmen in Tuesday’s exhibition match: Leanna Rebimbas, Sydney Sparks and Chloe Woodbeck, with Sparks playing for the full 90 minutes. The Boilermakers had 10 different players record a shot on goal over the course of the match and saw opportunities all over the field.

The 2019 women’s squad is captained by junior Sarah Clark and senior Maddy Duncan.

The Boilermakers begin their regular season campaign on Aug. 22 at Folk Field where they will face the University of Georgia.

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