Huskers win soccer opener
Champaign, Ill. - The top-seeded Nebraska soccer team overcame an early Minnesota goal in the first minute of play to rally with four unanswered tallies as the Huskers advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals with a decisive 4-1 victory on Wednesday. Nebraska will face the No. 4 seed Indiana on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. The Huskers have won seven consecutive matches for the second time this season.
The 18th-ranked Huskers (16-3-1) used a pair of goals by junior Mayme Conroy along with scores by seniors Jordan Jackson and Stacy Bartels to take control of the match after Simone Kolander gave the Gophers (11-7-2) the lead just 39 seconds into the match. Nebraska scored four goals in a match for the fourth time this season and are now 13-0-1 when scoring 2 or more goals this season.
Conroy knotted up the contest at 1-1 at the 7:28 mark when senior Kylie Greischar sent in a cross from the right flank to the athletic, 5-foot 9-inch forward who tapped it into the left side of the net as NU gained momentum. Nearly seven minutes later, Jackson gave NU a 2-1 lead as she headed in her ninth goal of the season from close range off a nicely executed corner kick from Samantha Areman in the slippery conditions. Jackson's score was her ninth of the year and 35th career.
Nebraska remained aggressive in the second half and took control of the match as Bartels made a run into the box for a strike from just inside the 18-yard box to extend the Husker lead to 3-1 in the 55th minute.
Two minutes later, Conroy headed in a long cross from Jaylyn Odermann to give Nebraska a 4-1 lead. Conroy is now tied for the team lead in goals with ten after her fifth-career multi-goal match and third this season, while Odermann notched her first points of the year.
Despite not finding the back of the net, Jaycie Johnson led NU with four shots, including two on goal as she was a menace for the Minnesota defense. The Nebraska defense was led by Ari Romero who was the lone Husker to work all 90 minutes, while Emma Stevens made four stops to preserve her 16th win of the year. Freshman goalkeeper Kelly Schatz played the final eight minutes in goal for Nebraska.
The Scarlet and Cream amassed eight shot attempts on target in the match compared to just eight for Minnesota. The Huskers managed four corner attempts to a pair for the Gophers, while NU committed just one foul in the cool and windy conditions on Illinois' campus moved the quarterfinal matches to a pair of recreation turf fields to preserve the championship pitch for final two rounds.
The 4-1 victory is the first win in the Big Ten Tournament for Nebraska since joining the conference three years ago. NU has now won 16 matches for the first time since 2002 and have scored in 17 consecutive matches, its longest streak since 2000 when Nebraska scored in its first 23 contests. The Minnesota goal is just the second goal allowed this year in the first half by a Big Ten opponent.
The Huskers will move to the semifinals to take on No. 4 seed Indiana Friday at 1:30 p.m. Both semifinal and championship matches will be shown live on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.com.
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