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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 1

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Page 76 of 78

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 1 77 BY ALAN KARPICK I t's one step at a time for sec- ond-year soccer coach Drew Roff. And the first step in 2015 was a pretty good one. Purdue finished with a winning record (9-8-1), the school's first north-of-.500 campaign since 2009. It ended last season with a rousing 5-1 win over Indiana to claim the Golden Boot. That always makes for a better offseason. "We made strides last year, and we were competitive in most of our matches," said Roff, whose Boiler- makers suffered just two losses by more than one goal in '15. Now, Roff has high expectations for his team. The good thing is, so do his players. "We will make the postseason," Gianna Milaro said. The senior midfielder will be expected to provide strong leadership, especially considering classmate Maddy Wil- liams, Purdue's scoring leader the past three seasons, has been lost to an ACL injury and will redshirt this season. Milaro admits it has taken some time to get used to Roff's attack-driven soccer philosophy and much more aggressive game plans than those of his predecessor, Rob Klatte. "Last year was a big transition year so I think a lot of us were … skeptical isn't the right word, but it was just a big transition year," Milaro said. "We asked ourselves, 'How is it going to be different? Is it going to be better?' "But now we trust him and know what he can do. Last year (with our success), he proved he knew what he was doing. I think that helped us to trust him a lot more, and I think it helped him trust us. We are definitely closer with him than we were last year." Roff knows a thing or two about the postseason. He was a regular partici- pant at Illinois State, the school he di- rected from 2007-14. During that peri- od, the Redbirds claimed six Missouri Valley Conference regular-season ti- tles and made five NCAA Tournament appearances. Despite Williams' injury, the Boiler- makers want to be on the attack, and have even changed to a 4-4-2 wider scheme from the more vertical 4-3-3 to help fill the void. Williams led the team with eight goals and 22 points last season, three more points than senior Hannah Leinert, who returns. "We're definitely focusing on having 11 attackers on the field as well as having 11 defenders," said sophomore de- fender/midfielder Dannah Williams (no relation to Maddy Williams). "We have the mentality that we are all soccer players trying to score, trying to possess (the ball)." Dannah Williams and fellow defender Vanessa Korolas join Leinert on the Big Ten preseason awards watch list. Each will be counted on to be on the pitch for much of the match. "It surprised me that I was selected," Dannah Williams said. "I didn't even know until a friend texted me, but I am really honored." As part of Roff's rebuilding project, he's had to manage Purdue Dannah Williams was one of three players honored by the Big Ten in the preseason. Progressing Nicely Postseason is goal in coach's second year By The Numbers 2009 Last year Purdue made the post season 70% Players on roster who are either seniors or freshmen 22 Points Boilermakers will have to replace due to Maddy Williams' injury Soccer Preview

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