BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Indiana Hoosiers (6-0-2) recorded a victory against Penn State (5-2-1) in their first Big Ten game of the season thanks to a late goal from Alec Purdie on Friday night.
"This is a great start for the Big Ten season," said head coach Todd Yeagley. "We knew tonight was going to be a really fast-paced, back-and-forth game. Penn State is a very good team and came in here and gave us some fits.
"We weren't at our best tonight and I told the guys this is a good sign. When you are not at your best but you are focused and play hard, for those 90 minutes you will be in it."
Indiana thought it had opened the scoring only seven minutes into the game, only for the referee to call the play offside. Last-ditch defending by the Hoosiers kept Penn State off the board three minutes later, as an outstretched leg from Chris Estridge denied a clear opportunity for the Nittany Lions.
Eriq Zavaleta was a constant threat in the first half for the Hoosiers, muscling his way through Penn State's backline in the 13th minute but shooting straight at Andrew Wolverton from 20 yards. He soon had another opportunity after good work in the corner from Tommy Meyer, ripping a half volley just over the crossbar.
The game remained scoreless after 45 minutes as both sides had trouble maintaining possession in an increasingly physical game.
Indiana came out strong after the break as Matt McKain had his shot tipped around the near post from six yards after cutting inside to his left foot. Luis Soffner was hardly troubled in the Hoosier goal, a diving stop on a shot from Julian Cardona the only save of note.
Indiana thought it had won a penalty kick with 17 minutes remaining as Chris Estridge cut into the box and seemed to be taken down, but the referee waived play on.
Purdie came to the rescue for the Hoosiers in the 78th minute in a game that seemed to be heading towards overtime. A.J. Corrado collected a loose ball at the top of the box, creating enough space to float the ball into the area where Purdie was on hand to head the ball into the top right corner, leaving Wolverton stranded. The goal was Purdie's fifth of the year in what is quickly becoming a breakout senior season.
"This win is huge for us," Purdie said. "Even though we didn't play our best, we got the result we wanted. We knew this would be a tough match and we would have to find a way to grind it out, which we did."
Indiana will travel to take on Wisconsin in its second conference game of the season on Saturday, October 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET in Madison