Upset-Minded Gophers to take on No. 25 Purdue on Sunday

Upset-Minded Gophers to take on No. 25 Purdue on Sunday

Soccer | 10/9/2021 8:00:00 AM

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota (6-3-3, 2-3-0 B1G) travels to No. 25 Purdue (9-2-2, 4-1-0 B1G) on Sunday, Oct. 10, for a showdown on BTN+. The match will be played at Folk Field in West Lafayette, Ind., starting at 12 p.m. CT. 
 
WHAT’S ON THE LINE ON SUNDAY?
Minnesota: Three tough Big Ten points for the Gophers will go a long way for the Maroon and Gold as their remaining four regular season matches are against teams with a combined conference record of 6-12-4
Minnesota: A win would be the first top 25 win for the program since the Maroon and Gold defeated No. 21 Rutgers in the 2018 Big Ten Tournament
Purdue: A Boilermaker victory would keep Purdue in the Big Ten title race, but Purdue would still need Rutgers to trip up at least once along the way to aim for their first regular season conference title in program history
Purdue: A win would give Purdue double digit wins (10) for the first time since 2017 when the team finished 10-7-2 (5-4-2 B1G)
 
LAST TIME OUT – PENN STATE
The University of Minnesota (6-3-3, 2-3-0 B1G) handed Penn State (7-5-0 1-4-0 B1G) its worst Big Ten loss since 2002 with a 4-1 drubbing of the Nittany Lions at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Izzy Brown netted the game-winning goal in the 25th minute, her second gamewinner of the season, and the four goals are the most Minnesota has scored against Penn State since 1997.
 
“We really challenged our group today to set the tone and be assertive right from the get go and I thought we responded and did that,” head coach Erin Chastain said. “Creating chances early, getting corner kicks early showed that we were the aggressors today. You want to make it tough on teams on a Sunday. I’m disappointed that we took a goal at the end there, you just can’t shut off and you can’t get into that habit. I know we had the game well in hand but I have higher expectations of our team closing out a game. Overall, four goals against anyone in the Big Ten I will take and we had some great individual performances from our group today.”
 
QUICK NOTES VS. PURDUE
– Last season Sophia Boman was the Gopher that got the better of the Boilermakers in Minnesota’s 1-0 win at home with Delaney Stekr notching an assist and Megan Plaschko earning the clean sheet 
– Purdue last made the NCAA Tournament in 2009 when the Boilermakers finished 12-6-3 and fell in the first round of the national tournament to Central Michigan
– Minnesota is currently on a seven-match winning streak against the Boilermakers with the last loss for the Gophers in the series coming in 2011
– Purdue has not defeated Minnesota at home since 2007 with the Gophers winning streak in West Lafayette currently at six matches
– The 2021 season for Minnesota is the first under the new leadership of Erin Chastain who returned to her alma mater after serving as the head coach at DePaul for the past 14 seasons
– The University of Minnesota coaching staff is comprised of four women, making them one of just four staffs across the Power 5 conferences to have an all-female staff
 
CONFERENCE CONFIDENCE
Since Big Ten play began on Sept. 18 the Gophers have been the Big Ten’s most lethal offense, scoring 11 goals in five matches (with a league-leading scoring average of 2.20). Minnesota has not only been scoring, but they have done it in the most efficient fashion, holding a league-best 20.8 scoring percentage during Big Ten play. Individually during conference play, Izzy Brown leads the Gophers and is tied for the second most goals with four with her 23.1 scoring percentage the best on the team this season.
 
PLUG AND PLAY
So far this season the Gophers have had to adapt and adjust to who is available with seven different starting lineups so far this season. In impressive fashion Elizabeth Overberg is one of two Big Ten true freshmen that have played every minute this season (Sydney Jones, Ohio State), playing as a center back for the Gophers alongside senior captain Delaney Stekr who has also played all 1140 minutes this season.
 
SCOUTING PURDUE
The Boilermakers (9-2-2, 4-1-0 B1G) come into Sunday’s match as one of the Big Ten’s hottest teams being winners in eight of their last nine matches. Purdue sits at No. 25 in the latest United Soccer Coaches rankings, making them one of three Big Ten programs in the latest top 25 rankings. Redshirt senior Sarah Griffith has been on a tear this season with 10 goals, two of them being gamewinners and five of them coming during conference play which is the most in the Big Ten through five matches. In goal it has been senior Marisa Bova who has made all 13 starts for Purdue amassing 67 saves while holding a goals against average of 0.90 with a pair of shutouts which both came during the non-conference portion of the season.
 
As a team Purdue ranks near the top offensively among Big Ten programs in most categories with their 25 total goals this season second among Big Ten teams. The team’s save percentage ranks 34th in the nation this year, and third best in the conference, at 0.852, with Bova’s 5.15 saves per match being the most in the Big Ten and 35th in the nation.
 
WARD HONORED BY TOPDRAWERSOCCER
Senior Patricia Ward’s name was mentioned on the TopDrawerSoccer.com honorable mention portion of the National Team of the Week last week. Ward contributed to two goals in the score sheet in the 4-1 win over Penn State at home and also sent in the ball that led to a Penn State own goal. Minnesota’s four-goal performance was the second of the season for the Maroon and Gold, making the Gophers the only Big Ten team to score four or more goals in a conference match twice. Ward’s three-point performance is the fourth time this season a Minnesota student-athlete has had a multi-point performance (not including one goal). To date Ward is now tied for first in active career assists (6) and third in career shots (55).
 
FIRST-HALF FRENZY
Among Minnesota’s 19 goals this season 13 have come in the first half of play with three getting added to that list in last weekend’s action against No. 9 Rutgers and Penn State. Specifically Izzy Brown has scored five of those first-half goals for Minnesota, who most recently scored the game-winning goal for the Maroon and Gold against Penn State in the 25 minute. In addition the Gophers hold a perfect 5-0-0 record this season when they lead after the first half and have a record of 6-2-0 when the team scores in the opening half of play. 
 
UNBLEMISHED IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
For the first time since the legendary 2008 Gopher squad that reached the NCAA Tournament Third Round Minnesota finished the non-conference portion of its schedule undefeated (4-0-3). The run in the non-conference was just the second time in program history the Gophers had not taken a loss before Big Ten play and did so without allowing a single goal.
 
A RECORD-BREAKING START TO THE CHASTAIN ERA
The dawn of the Chastain era has been one for the record books in 2021. Erin Chastain, who returned home to Minnesota to lead the Gophers after 14 seasons at DePaul, kicked off her opening season with a undefeated 4-0-3 start, marking just the fourth women’s soccer coach in Big Ten history, and first Minnesota soccer coach, to start her first year undefeated in her first seven matches.
 
UP NEXT
Minnesota’s next test will be in front of a national television audience when Illinois comes to town on Oct. 14, to play on the B1G Network starting at 8 p.m. CT. The Fighting Illini are coming off a match against Wisconsin and are 1-4-1 in Big Ten play this season. Last time the Gophers played Illinois the match ended in a 0-0 draw in Minneapolis. 

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