WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — In a hard-fought, physical rivalry match, the Purdue soccer team kept the Golden Boot with a 0-0 draw against Indiana on Saturday night at Folk Field.
The Boilermakers (4-5-2) retained the rivalry trophy for the sixth consecutive season. Purdue holds a 15-4-6 record in the series against the Hoosiers (6-4-1).
Saturday's contest also was Senior Night, as senior forward/midfielder Hannah Melchiorre and junior defender Julia Ware were recognized as they played their final match at Folk Field. Melchiorre and Ware will both be graduating from Purdue University later this spring.
"I thought it was a really good match tonight," Purdue coach Drew Roff said. "I really liked how we played. The first ten minutes or so, it took us a little bit to get settled in, but, once we did, I really liked how we competed. I liked the way we connected our passes, I liked the way that we looked dangerous going forward. It was just a very solid IU team that defended very well. We did everything that I wanted us to do, except score the goal. Soccer is that type of game sometimes, where I felt like we had a good plan going in, I thought that our players executed the plan perfectly. The commitment to work for each other was tremendous."
Purdue had 18 shots, eight on goal, against a defense-focused Indiana squad. Meanwhile, the Boilermaker defense limited the Hoosiers to four shots, two on goal. IU did not have a shot in the second half and the first overtime.
Redshirt junior forward Sarah Griffith led the team with seven shots, five on goal, and freshman forward Nicole Kevdzija had four shots and two shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Marisa Bova made two saves and earned her fourth clean sheet of the season.
"I am really proud of the effort, and pleased with our performance," Roff added. "We wanted that goal really badly, and I felt like we definitely deserved to get one, but it didn't happen. But, a strong performance from our team overall. That's the type of performance that, if we can maintain that standard moving into the tournament games coming up next weekend, I think we're going to be a tough team to beat."
As the regular season concludes and the postseason begins, all but one of Purdue's matches were decided by one or fewer goals.
Purdue out-shot Indiana 4-2 in the opening 45 minutes and both goalkeepers made one save.
IU had the first shot of the match, which went high in the fifth minute, and the visitors followed with a corner in the eighth. Purdue then turned on the offensive pressure, which began with a free kick in the 17th minute that resulted in several chances in the final third, but no shots.
The Boilermakers' first shot came by Griffith in the 27th minute, as she dribbled around several Hoosier defenders into the penalty box and sent a shot wide. Two minutes later, freshman midfielder Emily Mathews sent off a shot that was wide from 30 yards away, and she forced a turnover that led to a shot that was just high five minutes later.
Griffith had another opportunity in the 40th minute from just outside the box, as she moved to her right and took a shot, but the IU keeper stopped it and pounced on the rebound. Bova made an easy save two minutes later on a ball in from the edge of the box that was deflected on the ground.
In the second half, Purdue had a 6-0 advantage in shots, with three on goal. The home side had all five corners.
Griffith forced a corner kick in the 54th minute, which eventually resulted in three Purdue corners, but the Boilermakers could not connect inside the box. Melchiorre had a chance go wide several minutes later, and junior midfielder Ally Mussallem had a shot from outside the penalty area that went just high in the 59th minute.
Indiana's keeper made a save on a shot by Griffith in the 67th minute, and she made a leaping save to tip out a ball sent in by Ware in the 82nd. The final shot of the half was by Griffith in the 87th, which also was saved.
Purdue had a 4-0 advantage in shots in the first overtime, with two on goal. Kevdzija had the period's best chance, as Griffith centered the ball and she got a shot off from near the penalty spot, but it was saved. Two minutes later, Kevdzija sent a shot high. In the final 30 seconds, Griffith had another shot that was saved to force a second overtime.
In the final 10 minutes, IU recorded its first shots since the first half, though the Boilermakers had a 4-2 advantage in shots and a 2-1 edge in shots on goal.
Kevdzija had the best chance in the second overtime, on a centering ball from junior midfielder Teagan Jones from the near corner flag. Her shot was saved, and Purdue could not get a foot on the rebound amidst traffic. Griffith also had a chance saved, as she dribbled to her right and shot into the upper corner.
Postseason competition begins with the single-elimination Big Ten Regional Weekend on Thursday, April 8. The Boilermakers are the No. 5 seed in the west and will face four-seeded Northwestern. The contest will be played in Madison, Wisconsin, with the winner facing Wisconsin, the west's top seed, on Sunday, April 11.