Husker soccer tops Penn State
Lincoln - A coast-to-coast run through the middle of the pitch in the third minute of double overtime by Nebraska's freshman forward Jaycie Johnson ended with a shot that beat the Penn State keeper from 20 yards out into the lower-left corner for an emotional 3-2 victory for the 21st-ranked Huskers on Sunday at a sunny Nebraska Soccer Field. NU is currently on a five-game win streak and have won 12 of its last 13 matches.
With one match remaining, Nebraska (14-3-1, 9-1-0 Big Ten) controls their own destiny and can clinch its first-ever Big Ten Conference championship with a victory this Friday, Nov. 1 when Indiana makes a visit to Lincoln for NU Senior Day. The conference championship would be the first for Nebraska since the 2000 season as a member of the Big 12.
Johnson, who gave NU a late 2-1 lead in the 83rd minute with a rebound put back to record her second multi-goal match this season, leads the Huskers with nine tallies on the year.
"I am so proud of our team. Our defense was unbelievable and our offense finished chances," commented the energetic freshman after the match. "We never quit, even when we're down and we picked each other up. Now we are one step closer to our goal of becoming Big Ten Champs and I couldn't be any happier."
With PSU (12-4-1, 6-4-0 Big Ten) leading 1-0 at the 74:27 mark late in the second half, senior Jordan Jackson electrified the NU crowd and put the Huskers on the scoreboard when she headed home the equalizer off a long pass from fellow senior defender Ari Romero. Romero, who played all 103 minutes along with senior Maritza Hayes, recorded her first assist of the year on the play. Jackson's eighth goal of the year was her 34th career score and gives her tallies in five of her last six matches.
The 16th-ranked Nittany Lions, whose streak of 15 consecutive Big Ten titles comes to an end after today's loss, denied the Huskers a victory in regulation when senior Maya Hayes headed home her 17th score of the year with just 1:52 remaining in the match as PSU forced extra time.
The Huskers have won nine conference matches for the first time since 2000 and have racked up 14 regular-season wins for the first time since 2001. NU has now scored in 15 consecutive matches, its longest streak since 2000 when Nebraska scored in its first 23 contests.
At the 24:45 mark of the first half, NU's Samantha Areman kept Hayes from putting PSU on the board after the shot initially got around Stevens. Areman came out of nowhere to make a sliding save as the ball approached the goal line. The match remained scoreless as both teams entered the halftime break with six shots apiece.
Less than two minutes into the second half, a Penn State free kick from the top of the 18-yard box set up the Nittany Lions to take the 1-0 edge. PSU's Whitney Church ripped a shot through a crowd and into the left side of the net to give PSU momentum. The score snapped NU's consecutive scoreless minutes streak at 313:25, the longest this season.
Penn State outshot Nebraska by a 19-16 margin, including 10-8 shots on target. Jackson led NU with a team-high six shots, including three on net, while Johnson notched five attempts for NU in the program's first-ever win against No. 16 Penn State in three attempts.
Nebraska will return to action for the regular-season finale on Friday, Nov. 2 against Indiana.
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