MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan women’s soccer team wraps up its non-conference schedule Wednesday with a showdown at Purdue, a team the Chippewas defeated in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Chippewas head into West Lafayette as the third-ranked team in the Great Lakes Region, according to the weekly National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and the top-ranked team in the state of Michigan. The Chippewas also received four votes in the most recent NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25 poll. See below for more details.
The Boilermakers enter with an identical 4-2-1 record to the Chippewas’. The two have a common opponent in West Virginia, whom Purdue played to a 2-2 draw on Sunday. The Chippewas defeated the Mountaineers, 2-0, earlier this season. Purdue has earned a 4-1-1 record at home in the confines of Varsity Soccer Complex, and holds a 12-4 goals scored-to-goals allowed ratio.
Purdue’s offense is averaging just over two goals per game, nearly twice as many as the defense is allowing per match. Junior midfielder Jordan Pawlik leads the offensive charge for the Boilermakers with six goals on just 17 total shots, and has assisted on two more. She added a hat trick to her resume with three scores against Evansville, and scored two in a 4-3 loss at Louisville. Junior forward Hadley Stuart has scored three and assisted on four more, and sophomore Alex Hairston has netted two and assisted on six.
The Boilermakers have been strong both defensively and offensively in the first halves of games to jump out to early leads often this season. Purdue has scored six goals in the first 45 minutes of action, while allowing just two. They have scored eight in the second halves of matches, but have allowed five.
History against Purdue
This will be the third meeting between the two programs. The last matchup was in 2010, when the Chippewas took down the No. 24 Boilermakers, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Five players from that CMU team return for the 2012 matchup - Bailey Brandon, who started at defender; Katie Slaughter; Laura Twidle; Ashley Mejilla; and Autumn Hawkins. Just one player, senior starting defender Jessica Warren returns from the Boilermakers' 2010 squad. Purdue won the first match between the two schools in 2001, 2-0.
Chippewas Receive Votes in NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25 Poll
The Chippewas received four votes in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire Top 25 poll, the first time since Oct. 11, 2011, the program has earned recognition in the poll. The Chippewas earned two votes in that poll. Central Michigan is the only team from the state of Michigan and the only Mid-American Conference team to appear in the national rankings.
All-time High Regional Ranking
The Chippewas moved up a spot in the Great Lakes Region to third in the most recent NSCAA/Continental Tire Great Lakes Regional Poll, behind Penn State and Wisconsin. The regional ranking is the highest of all time for the Chippewas. Central Michigan is the highest-ranked team in the state of Michigan, ahead of Michigan (sixth) and Michigan State (seventh), and is the highest ranked Mid-American Conference team in the region. Miami (OH) is ninth. The Chippewas are also ranked 56th in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 64 rankings.
Chippewas Racking Up Shutouts
With a 2-0 shutout against Texas State this weekend, the Chippewas defense has shut out four teams this season, and are 3-0-1 in those matches, including a 0-0 draw with No. 12 Marquette. Supported by a strong back line led by senior defenders Katie Slaughter and Bailey Brandon, goalkeepers Stefanie Turner (three shutouts) and Grace Labrecque (one) have turned in outstanding efforts in goal.
Big Performances against the Big Ten
The Chippewas are 2-3-1 in their last six meetings with Big Ten teams dating back to 2009. The Chippewas traveled to Wisconsin in 2011 and earned a last-minute 2-1 victory over the Badgers, and in 2009 defeated No. 24 Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Central Michigan also played Michigan to a 1-1 draw in 2011.The three losses came to Penn State this season (5-0), and Indiana (2-1) and Iowa (1-0) in 2010.
This week’s match against Purdue will be the first Wednesday match for the Chippewas since Sep. 14, 2011, when the Chippewas traveled to Madison, Wis. and knocked off another Big Ten team, Wisconsin, 2-1.
Wednesday’s match against Purdue will be the final match of the non-conference schedule, and the last in a stretch of seven out of eight games on the road to start the season. The Chippewas’ lone home match against Evansville was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Chippewas will play their official home opener against Kent State Friday, Sep. 21 against Kent State at 4:30 p.m.