Purdue women’s soccer had a rough decade during the 2010s, not making the NCAA tournament a single time and only showing up in the Big Ten tournament, which hosted the top eight teams in the conference, twice. However, things turned in a positive direction this year. Purdue finished the 2021 season 13-3-2 overall, and 8-2-0 in Big Ten play for their best showing since 2007. Here are rapid recaps of the last two games of the season:
10/21: FINAL—#18 Purdue 1, Northwestern 0
Sydney Duarte scored in the sixteenth minute of the game, and Purdue kept the Wildcats at bay for the rest of the game. Emily Mathews and Gracie Dunaway assisted on Duarte’s goal, while Marisa Bova saved four shots on goal en route to her fourth shutout of the season. This game cemented Purdue in second place within the conference.
10/24: FINAL—#18 Purdue 2, Indiana 0
Coach Roff has always been able to keep the Golden Boot, and that trend continued in the regular season finale. Ally Mussallem scored just before the seventy-third minute finished, and Emily Mathews added another score about six and a half minutes later for insurance. Both players added an assist, and Sarah Griffith added an additional assist in her last regular season game as a Boilermaker. Meanwhile, Marisa Bova stopped all three shots that came her way for the second shutout in as many games.
Now, the Big Ten Tournament awaits. Here is the bracket:
Credit for this bracket goes to the Big Ten Conference.
Purdue will start by hosting Ohio State on October 31st at Folk Field and considering that these two teams went to overtime in their first meeting, it should be an interesting match. If Purdue wins and #1 Rutgers loses their quarterfinal matchup to #8 Wisconsin, the rest of the tournament will be held in West Lafayette. Otherwise, the remainder of the tournament will transpire in New Jersey. Should Purdue win the quarterfinal match, they will face the winner of #3 Michigan and #6 Penn State, the two teams that beat the Boilermakers during the regular season. Hopefully, if they get that far, Coach Roff can retool some techniques and the players can execute the gameplan in order to win this matchup.
Finally, I want to briefly touch on Purdue’s NCAA chances. As it currently stands, Purdue is ranked #18 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and #27 in the RPI. Even if Purdue were to lose to Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals, they should still make the NCAA tournament. However, the Big Ten Tournament is a great chance for Purdue to get a better scenario for a successful NCAA run, and depending on how things go elsewhere, Purdue might even host the first two rounds if they win the Big Ten Tournament. Overall, this has been a very successful season, and I hope that Purdue can keep the push going into the postseason.