WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The No. 18-ranked Purdue soccer team's record-setting 2021 season continued with a 2-0 rivalry victory over Indiana on Sunday afternoon at Folk Field.
On a rainy day to conclude the regular season, the Boilermakers (13-3-2, 8-2-0) picked up their 13th win, tied for fourth-most in a single season in team history, and their eighth Big Ten win, tied for the most ever along with the 2007 squad. Purdue's overall and conference records are both its best since 2007.
With the victory over the Hoosiers (9-5-4, 3-4-3 Big Ten), the Boilermakers have retained the Golden Boot Trophy for seven consecutive seasons. Purdue improves to 16-4-6 all-time and 9-2-3 at home in the in-state rivalry matchup. The seven-game unbeaten streak is the second-longest in the series, behind a 15-game string by the Boilermakers from 2000-2011.
Purdue finished second in the Big Ten with 24 points, tied for its best conference finish along with 2005 and 2007. The Boilermakers will enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will host No. 7 seed Ohio State in the quarterfinal on Sunday, October 31, at 3 p.m. ET. The game at Folk Field will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
"I think it's just a testament to the character, the work and the investment that our players have put in," Purdue coach Drew Roff said of his team's performance this year. "Particularly our seniors, they played a lot as freshmen back in 2018 and they took their lumps, being a young group back then, with the intention that we could continue to improve every year, and eventually, senior year, hopefully contend for Big Ten title… We have a great group of seniors, and their motto is 'no stone unturned,' and I think that's how they prepare. They put in the time, they worked on their fitness over the summer, they were determined, and that's what got this group together, just learn how to win. I'm so happy for them … those players are just incredible people, they've invested so much, and they never quit… In those key moments in the past where we couldn't quite figure out how to get over the hump, they figured that out, they've created that winning DNA around here, and it's really special to see. They deserve all the credit."
As the Boilermakers earned their second consecutive shutout, third in four games and fifth this season, they have won two in a row and five of their last six heading into the postseason.
Senior forward Ally Mussallem came off the bench and had a career day to lead the Boilermakers offensively. She scored the game-winning goal in the 73rd minute, and added an assist on Purdue's second goal in the 80th minute.
Sophomore midfielder Emily Mathews also had three points, scoring Purdue's insurance goal in the 80th minute, her sixth of the campaign. She and senior forward Sarah Griffith were credited with assists on Mussallem's score.
Mussallem's goal is her third this season and fourth of her career, while the assist is the fourth of her career and the first since 2019. The game-winner is her second, joining one from earlier this season.
Griffith's assist is her second this season and eighth of her career to cap an impressive Big Ten season that saw her register at least one point in nine of 10 Big Ten contests. She totaled eight goals and two assists in conference play, highlighted by a seven-game goal streak and an eight-game point streak, both school records.
Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Marisa Bova made two saves and another ball was cleared off the line to secure the clean sheet.
The performance helped Bova continue to rise in the school record books. She moves into a tie for second in program history with 19 career shutouts, and her five shutouts this year are now tied for sixth-most. Her 90 saves in 2021 are up to No. 3 in a single season, and her 207 career saves continue to rank No. 5. In Bova's career she also remains second in goals-against average (0.89) and save percentage (.805) and fourth in wins (27) and minutes (5,086.36), and she moves into a tie for fourth with 54 starts. In a single season, Bova's 13 saves are No. 5 and the most by a goalkeeper since 2007, and she is third in save percentage (.849) and tied for sixth in goals-against average (0.87).
Griffith had a match-high six shots, four on goal, while Mathews had three shots. IU had 14 shots to Purdue's 13, but the defense allowed just three of the visitor's shots to go on target, while the home side delivered seven shots on goal. The Hoosier keeper made five saves.
Purdue took a 1-0 lead at 72:54 on Mussallem's goal. The play began with a pass across the halfway line to Griffith, who one-touched the ball to Mathews inside the center circle. Mathews dribbled twice before she found Mussallem with a long pass to her right towards the Big Ten logo. With space, Mussallem dribbled into the far corner of the 18-yard box and fired a right-footed shot across the box towards the opposite post and into the corner of the net. She beat a diving IU keeper, who was guarding the right post.
The lead was extended to 2-0 at 79:26, as Mussallem connected with Mathews for the insurance goal. A sprinting Mussallem got the ball on the far side past midfield and dribbled to the edge of the penalty box. From 15 yards on the outside edge of the box, Mussallem centered the ball to Mathews and Griffith at the top of the six. It was Mathews who got a foot on it, with a tap-in that deflected off the goalkeeper's right foot and in.
It nearly became 3-0 several minutes later, as Mathews hit the left post, and Bova made a save in the 88th minute to preserve the shutout. Following Purdue's second goal, the Boilermakers had a 4-3 advantage in shots in the final 11 minutes.
Second-seeded Purdue will host seventh-seed Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal on Sunday, October 31, at Folk Field. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET in a nationally-televised contest on the Big Ten Network. Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, October 26, at 10 a.m., and additional details will be announced as they become available.