If a game was one half instead of two, the Michigan women’s soccer team (0-1 Big Ten, 3-1-4 overall) would have finished feeling like it had just won. 

The score might have been 0-0, but the Wolverines dominated the shot and possession battles. Unfortunately for Michigan, though, the game lasted until the 83rd minute, and that’s when Purdue (1-0, 6-2) scored the game-winning goal.

During its impressive first half, Michigan managed seven shots — but its most impressive work came in the buildup to those shots. The Wolverines had good movement around the box and put plenty of balls into play, but they weren’t able to get many shots off.

“There are games when things just click,” said junior forward Taylor Timko. “From the backline up, I think the effort was there. We just didn’t execute, and I think the biggest thing is to just use this as a learning experience.”

The best chance for Michigan came just 10 minutes into the game. Fifth-year senior forward Ani Sarkisian had a breakaway, where the goalkeeper was all that stood in the way of a potential Wolverine lead.

A Boilermaker defender was right on her heels, and Sarkisian couldn’t get the shot off before she became entangled with the goalkeeper and defender. Sarkisian was quick on her feet, though, and poked the ball backwards for junior forward Reilly Martin to run onto. But the chance was lost and Purdue put a toe on the ball to clear it out of harm’s way.

The second half saw a whole new side of the Boilermakers. They instantly put pressure on Michigan’s backline and rattled off 11 shots in the second half alone — one of those being the late goal.

Taking advantage of the Wolverines’ young defense, Purdue midfielder Kylie Hase found herself unmarked in the box, and the long pass landed right at her feet. There was nothing senior goalkeeper Sarah Jackson could do. She could only watch as Hase pounded it into the back of the goal.

While the Wolverines had chances in the second half — including a shot from Timko that hit the crossbar — as soon as the Boilermakers went up a goal, Michigan clearly looked deflated.

The loss marks the second straight game where the Wolverines have been shut out at home — something that hasn’t happened since 2013.

“To win Big Ten games, your seniors and your juniors, they gotta step up,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan. “They gotta find ways to win games for you, so the challenge is on to score some goals. We scored two goals in four games. The problem with staying 0-0 is anything can happen in a game like soccer and it finally did. So, we’re going to have to start putting some points on the board.”

Currently, Michigan has four injured starters — most notably, junior midfielder Abby Kastroll —  which may be contributing to its goal shortage. Kastroll scored five goals for the Wolverines last season and had already scored two this season prior to her injury in the sixth game of the year.

But that shouldn’t be an excuse. Michigan has plenty of talent on its roster and, though it may have young players, there are many veterans that are capable of taking over a game. The Wolverines didn’t start conference play the way they hoped, but Ryan will now look to the upperclassman to pick up the rest of the team and prepare for Indiana on Sunday.

“If you want to score goals, you need to get your chances right in front of the keeper, right where they got theirs, and we just never created that tonight,” Ryan said. “This was a team we really thought we could get after and get at, and it just didn’t happen for us tonight.”

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