This spring we have mostly concentrated on what the baseball team is doing, but many of the other spring sports at Purdue are doing extremely well. Here is a quick update on each:
A strong finish by the women’s softball team was enough to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor starting on Friday. Purdue swept Nebraska this past weekend to finish the regular season 20-35 and 9-14 in the Big Ten. The sweep was a bookend to an otherwise dismal Big Ten season. Purdue started the Big Ten campaign by sweeping Michigan State at home. It then went 3-14 in the middle 17 games of the conference slate before sweeping Nebraska.
Purdue will be the 9 seed and will play in game 1 on Thursday at 11am against Northwestern (24-28, 10-13). The Wildcats swept Purdue 12-4, 6-0, and 6-3 just three weeks ago. If Purdue wins it will face No. 4 ranked Minnesota (51-3, 22-1), the Big Ten’s regular season champion, on Friday.
As we noted last week, Purdue qualified for the NCAA tournament and will face No. 23 Columbia on Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia. A win would set up a match with No. 2 Virginia the next day.
The women’s team struggled mightily this year, going just 6-16 overall and 1-10 in Big Ten play. They started strong at 5-0 with wins over Butler, Toledo, Evansville, Xavier, and Washington State, but then fell hard. The lone Big Ten victory was 5-2 at Wisconsin on April 16th.
The men’s golf team not only qualified for the NCAA Regionals this weekend, it will host them on the Kampen Course in West Lafayette. Purdue enters the regional as the No. 7 seed after finishing 4th in the field of 14 at the Big Ten championships. Having home course advantage should help as they seek to return to the NCAA championships, where they finished 29th last season.
It was a bit of a down season for our highly respected women’s golf team, as they finished 6th in the 14 team Big Ten championships. It was still enough to qualify for the Columbus NCAA Regional, going on right now in Ohio. After day 1 Purdue is in third place as a team, just 3 strokes behind Florida State and five behind Florida. That would be enough to return to the NCAA championships. Individually, Marta Martin had the best round out of everyone and leads the field with a -2 70 after one round.
Men’s Track & Field
Not much is expected from the men’s team headed into this weekend’s outdoor track & field Big Ten championships at Penn State. During the indoor season the men finished 10th and they have struggled a little in the outdoor season.
Women’s Track & Field
This weekend the women’s track team might finally end 71 years of struggle for all of Purdue sports. The women’s team is ranked 15th nationally and was a very close second to Penn State for the indoor Big Ten championship back in February. As the highest ranked Big Ten team nationally, they are favored to win the outdoor Big Ten championship, which would be Purdue’s 73rd conference championship in any sport. That would FINALLY tie Purdue with the University of Chicago in overall Big Ten titles despite the Maroons not competing in the Big Ten in anything since 1946. Purdue still has more conference championships overall than Maryland (14), Nebraska (12), Johns Hopkins (1 since they are a Big Ten lacrosse member) and Rutgers (0).
Seriously though, the women’s track team has had a great season and the No. 15 ranking is a program best.
Purdue has won the Governor’s Cup with Indiana for three straight years and it is still somewhat up in the air this year. Indiana holds a 10-8 lead with two events remaining, and the higher finisher at the Big Ten meet for both men’s and women’s track will get the last two points. Purdue is favored to get the women’s point, but the men’s point should go to IU. Surprisingly, the women’s indoor head-to-head meet went in favor of Indiana despite Purdue later finishing higher at the Big Ten meet.
Many of the event shave been very, very close. Indiana won the football game by 2 in November. Indiana also won both men’s and women’s tennis by 4-3 scores. The schools split the point in softball and Purdue recently took both golf points to close the gap to 10-8.